Incident Name: escaped prescribed burn
Personnel: Edwin E. King
Agency/Organization: Reno County Fire District No. 7
Position: Fire Chief
Summary: Chief King was driving a brush truck in response to a controlled burn that had become uncontained. Conditions were smoky and the dirt road that Chief King was driving on was only 20 feet wide. Chief King's brush truck collided head-on with his department's tanker (tender) as it responded to the same incident. Chief King was pronounced dead at the scene; the driver of the tanker was not injured.
Reno Fire District 7 in Turon, KS
- US Social Security Death Index: Edwin E King
- Hundreds mourn Edwin King, killed in collision while responding to fire
By Mary Clarkin, The Hutchinson News (from the Kansas Fallen ZFirefighters website)
TURON - The firefighter's helmet near the U.S. flag-draped coffin reminded the hundreds of mourners packed into Turon Community Center Monday morning of Edwin King's role as Reno County Fire District No. 7 chief.
But that was only one of the hats he wore.
He was a school bus driver, patient and caring. He was an auto body shop owner, generous with tools. He was an uncle, who once rescued his nephew from the water. He was a grandfather, loving and loved.
"God's heart is breaking," Pastor Howard Wagler said.
King, 55, of Turon, died Wednesday after the brush truck he was driving collided with a vehicle driven by Assistant Chief Tom Franks, who was not injured. Smoke from a controlled burn that had grown out of control thwarted visibility on the rural road.
Newton Fire/EMS Chief Gary Denny did not know King, and he guessed that many non-Reno County firefighters present - from such places as Sedgwick, Coffey Sumner, Miami counties - were not personally acquainted, either.
"It's out of respect for the fire service," Denny said.
As mourners took turns sharing memories of King, Kenny Burgess, King's counterpart in Reno County Fire District No. 3, recounted a story from a few years ago.
They flew to Maryland for fire training, Burgess recalled, but bad weather made the airport in Washington frantic when they prepared to return. They visited with a beleaguered airline employee, even managing to get her to laugh, and she rewarded them when standby seats became available.
"So I guess it paid to be a nice Kansas man," Burgess said.
They returned safely - except for King's luggage.
"Didn't bother him a bit," Burgess said.
A bagpiper and a firefighter honor guard added to the solemnity of the funeral. A fire truck bore the coffin to Turon Cemetery.
A photo of King appeared on the front of the printed program, but on the back was King, as drawn by grandson Colby Bontrager, 6.
He was fighting a fire. And he had very long arms
- Find a Grave: Edwin Evans King
- USFA Memorial Database: Edwin E King
- Kansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial Web Page: Edwin E King
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