Arkansas News

Friday, September 18, 2020

One dead after house fire in North Little Rock

According to the North Little Rock Police Department, one is dead after a structure fire that happened around 7 p.m. on Orange Street Thursday night. Police said the victim, who has not yet been identified, was dead when firefighters got to him. The fire has been extinguished. Fire marshals are working to determine the cause of the fire.
KTHV-TV CBS 11 Little Rock

Special meeting of Bryant City Council discusses Midtown, radios and tower

A special meeting of the Bryant City Council was held Tuesday to discuss Midtown Overlay District and negotiations to improve emergency first responder broadcast capabilities. Bryant City Attorney Josh Farmer discussed a settlement that the city has reached with the Midtown Improvement District. He explained the history of the lawsuit the district had against the city. The city was sued but in 2017 the improvement district filed bankruptcy. It was released from bankruptcy late in 2019 and the suit was sent to the courts. He said this past Friday both parties came to an agreement he calls a win, win. Farmer said while Mayor Allen Scott has the executive authority to sign the agreement, he still wanted to bring it to the council because there would be ordinances, including one he brought during the meeting, the council will need to pass.
Benton Courier

Arkansas Forestry Commission county ranger back from fighting fires in California

Wesley McKinney is a county ranger for the Arkansas Forestry Commission. Earlier this month, McKinney was in northern California near the Mendocino National Forest fighting off fires. “When we aren’t fighting fires in Arkansas, we go out and lend a helping hand to other states that are in need,” Conway County Ranger Wesley McKinney said. For 21 days, McKinney left his wife and 6-year-old son to help fight fires Northwest of Sacramento. “Some days we wouldn’t see the sun, we’d go two days where we wouldn’t see the sun because of the smoke,” McKinney said. McKinney has been working fires for 16 hours every day with little rest. He said resources are down because of the number of fires burning in the west. “We are doing it with 20% of what we need to fight these fires,” McKinney said.
KHOG-TV ABC 29/KHBS-TV 40 Fayetteville-Fort Smith

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Rogers School Board approves paramedic proposal

An Arkansas school board has approved a plan to hire paramedics to serve as substitute nurses in case the school nurses need to quarantine for COVID-19. The Rogers School Board entered into a tentative agreement with city officials Tuesday in anticipation of a potential shortage of school nurses during the pandemic, according to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Superintendent Marlin Berry said the district currently has a nearly full staff of school nurses, but that a nurse needing a 14-day absence in order to quarantine would put schools in a tough position. The city has agreed to inform paramedics about the off-duty work opportunity and allow medics to wear their city uniforms and use city medical supplies while working at the schools. The medics will be paid by the school district for their work as substitutes. Rogers Fire Chief Tom Jenkins said he supports the plan and does not know of any other school district or city where paramedics work as school nurses.
Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette - Metered Site

Cause of natural gas line fire under investigation in Fort Smith

Investigators from the Arkansas Oklahoma Gas Corp. are expected to be at the intersection of Massard and Zero streets to determine the cause of a natural gas fire that broke out last night. The fire was first reported to Fort Smith dispatchers shortly after 9:00 Wednesday evening. The Fort Smith fire chief said a high pressure transmission line carrying natural gas ruptured and resulted in the fire. The line was owned by Arkansas Oklahoma Gas and crews were battling flames until the company could shut it down. Crews worked about four hours to suppress the flames while they were waiting for the gas company to turn the gas off. Shawn Fuller, incident commander and fire battalion chief in Fort Smith, said their main focus was protecting nearby buildings and nearby transmission lines. Fuller said there were five other transmission lines, owned by five other gas companies, that needed protection from the flames.
KHOG-TV ABC 29/KHBS-TV 40 Fayetteville-Fort Smith

NEBCO firefighters staffing station after increase in fire dues

Thanks to property owners in the northeast Benton County area who approved an increase in fire dues, two firefighters will be on staff in the Northeast Benton County Fire-EMS Department station from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. There will also be firefighters paid to be on call for the night shift. "Our response is going to be extremely faster now," NEBCO Fire Chief Rob Taylor said. "Prior to that, the ambulance would respond in the ambulance but the volunteers had to come from wherever they were." There are 24 volunteers on the roster for NEBCO but most of them have 40-hour a week jobs and are not always available. "You can't really depend on knowing when they're around. That's just part of volunteerism," Taylor said. "We're continuing to get busier and busier and getting more requests for service for the fire department." "It's getting harder and harder to make those calls. When someone calls 911, they want service and they want it quickly," he said.
Northeast Benton County Times - Metered Site

Couple accused of stealing from fire Cash Volunteer Fire Protection District

A Craighead County woman who worked as a treasurer/secretary of a fire protection district is accused of stealing over $100,000 from the district, while her husband faces a theft charge in the case as well. Valarie Renee Eaton, 41, and Ronald Darrell Eaton, 48, both of Cash, were arrested after the months-long investigation by the Craighead County Sheriff’s Office. According to a probable cause affidavit, officials with the Cash Volunteer Fire Protection District called the sheriff’s office March 18 about a recent audit for the fire district. Authorities later got a subpoena for bank and financial records for the district. The subpoenas showed Eaton “had paid herself via checks or cash withdraws in excess and estimated $51,000 salary over a 5-year period above what salary Ms. Eaton was approved to receive.”
KAIT-TV ABC 8 Jonesboro

Fayetteville officials worried about crowds during canceled Bikes, Blues and BBQ

City leaders in Fayetteville are worried about a group of bikers who say they're still going to come to Fayetteville the weekend of September 23-26, even though Bikes, Blues and BBQ was canceled this year. Mayor Lioneld Jordan said the event is canceled and a permit has not been signed off on, but he's heard the bikers are on their way and he doesn't know how to stop them. Bikes, Blues and BBQ usually draws thousands of people to Dickson Street every year, but the event was canceled in June because of concerns with COVID-19. Mayor Jordan said all of the bikers will be required to social distance and follow the state-wide mask mandate. Fayetteville Fire Chief Brad Hardin said both Fayetteville Police and Fayetteville Fire Marshal's officials will be standing by and they will take similar precautions as they did Labor Day weekend.
KHOG-TV ABC 29/KHBS-TV 40 Fayetteville-Fort Smith

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