Fort Riley, Kansas



Garage fire gives family new take on Black Friday

By Kalene Lozick | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | December 08, 2017

     Fire Chief Ric Seward, Fort Riley Fire and Emergency Services, asked Karyna Baker, 11, daughter of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joseph Baker, 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, at their residence Nov. 29 about what happened the morning of Nov. 24 when a garage fire broke out in her home, but she was quiet. During the silence, her sister Ellie, 4, said, “just say it,” and then giggled.

     The 4-year-old was the first to notice smoke seeping through the door frame from the garage. She ran upstairs to notify her parents.

     “So I woke up with mom (Alicia Baker) flying down the staircase and then I heard the smoke alarms go off,” Karyna said. “I just ran outside when mom and dad told me to call 911 and I told them what our address is.”

     Seward asked how she knew to call 911. She said from school.

     “Once a year someone from the fire department comes to school to tell us about fire (safety),” Karyna said.

     Seward presented a Fort Riley Fire and Emergency Services coin to her and said thanks.

     “For your actions, I would like to present you with a coin,” Seward said. “Excellent job and thank you for all that you did on Friday and if you every want to be a firefighter, give us a call.”

      Right on cue, Ellie responded with an “I do.” It was then she realized she would get a coin too.

      “Alright,” Seward said as he walked toward Ellie. “And thank you for what you did on Friday.”

      As Seward gave Ellie the coin, she lifted it above her head and let out a cheer.

      But the gifts did not end there. Seward gave both kids a purple bag filled with goodies, including a glow-in-the-dark Yo-yo.

      Ellie hugged the bag and gave her thanks to Seward for the gifts. She was particularly excited about the plastic cup that changed colors with water, Seward said.

      While the kids enjoyed their gifts, the parents spoke with Seward about the garage fire.

      The fire began the morning of Black Friday, Alicia said.

      Ellie first noticed the flames at 7 a.m. then notified her parents. Once everyone was awake, Joseph and Alicia told Karyna to call 911.

      Once fire alarms went off, Battalion 1 and 2 responded with Fire Engines 51, 11, 21 and Rescue 1. When Engine 51 arrived, they reported the fire was out and requested Emergency Medical Support to check out one occupant for smoke inhalation symptoms, according to information from the fire station.

      “You guys were great and you got here fast,” Joseph said. “They were a great help. I mean we had it out before they got here, but they made sure everyone was safe.”

      A heater plugged into the same outlet as a lamp sparked the flames, Joseph said. He said those sparks caught his workbench on fire.

     “It ended up being an electrical fire,” Seward said.