Fellow first responders surprise Kan. firefighter heavily impacted by wildfires

Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 7:23 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - On Monday, Jan. 24, firefighters from three counties in north central Kansas traveled to Paradise in Russell County to surprise a fellow firefighter with donations of money and hay. The Dec. 15 Four-County Fire tore through thousands of acres around the tiny town of Paradise, in Russell County, destroying many farmers’ and ranchers’ properties and killing their cattle.

Firefighter Brett Thompson, also a rancher, is still working to rebuild after losing his home and livestock last month to wildfire. Fellow first responders from Ottawa, Mitchell and Cloud counties are coming to his aid.

“[Thompson] was a fireman over here, he’s an active fireman, goes to fires goes to training. And so we wanted to donate directly from fireman to fireman,” said Larry Heidirick, chief for the rural fire district that covers Mitchell, Cloud and Ottawa counties.

Monday was filled with surprises and joy for Thompson.

“God, I mean, these guys are awesome. I mean, I just don’t know what to say,” he said of receiving donations of more than $5,000 and 34 bales of hay.

Several of those who donated to the effort didn’t know Thompson before Monday. That didn’t matter.

“Firemen are family, no matter what fire department they belong to or where they are at,” Heidrick said.

Copyright 2022 KWCH. All rights reserved.