Kan. fire captain hit by falling power line while warning residents of oncoming tornado

Selden firefighters and police officers drove up and down the streets warning the community after the city's tornado sirens stopped working


Tim Hrenchir
The Topeka Capital-Journal, Kan.

SELDEN, Kan. — As a tornado bore down Monday evening upon the small city of Selden in northwest Kansas, an electrical failure left that community's tornado sirens inoperable.

Firefighters and law enforcement officers responded by driving down the streets sounding their sirens and calling out over bullhorn for people to take cover, said Don Koerperich, emergency manager for Sheridan County, where Selden is located.

Micah Goscha, a captain for the city's volunteer fire department, was doing that when an inactive power line fell on the back of his fire truck, breaking a rear window and hitting his neck, Goscha said.

Goscha didn't need medical attention, though the experience left him "bruised and sore," he told The Capital-Journal in a text message Tuesday.

Koerperich said he'd received no reports of injuries resulting from the tornado, which touched down about 6:30 p.m. at Selden, a city of about 220 people about 30 miles northeast of Colby.

The twister appeared to have destroyed four or five houses and six to eight metal outbuildings while damaging about 100 other houses, Koerperich said.

An estimated 200 to 300 volunteers who had showed up on-site were helping locals clean up the damage Monday, he said.

Selden residents felt fortunate that they were getting so much assistance and that the outcome hadn't been worse, Koerperich added.

Monday's tornado also overturned a semi-trailer, caused at least one natural gas leak and downed trees and power lines, according to a storm report posted online by the National Weather Service.

"We have multiple units working in the Selden area following a tornado touchdown," Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Todd Hileman said Monday evening on Twitter. "Several semi-trucks and train cars are blown over."

The Selden twister was among 17 tornadoes reported late Monday in western Kansas, and appeared to have been the most serious, according to information posted online by the weather service.

Selden is a roughly 300-mile drive, mostly to the west and then to the north, from Topeka.

"Glad to hear everyone is safe," Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall said late Monday on Twitter. "My office has been in contact with officials and stands by ready to assist those who need help."

Donations to help Selden can be sent to the City of Selden at P.O. Box 54, Selden, KS 67757.

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(c)2021 The Topeka Capital-Journal, Kan.

 

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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