Jill Bronaugh
Communication Manager
Office of the State Fire Marshal
800 SW Jackson, Suite 104
Topeka, KS 66612-1216
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Press Releases

Seven Derby firefighters honored Tuesday at Derby City Council meeting with the 2017 Tom McGaughey Fire Service Award for Heroic Actions

OSFM | Dec 14, 2017

Each year, the Office of the State Fire Marshal joins with the Kansas State Association of Fire Chiefs and Kansas State Firefighters Association to honor a firefighter or team of firefighters for heroic actions above and beyond the call of duty. This year, the agencies are delighted to bestow the 2017 Tom McGaughey Fire Service Award upon seven firefighters from the Derby Fire and Rescue Department. 

The team was nominated for the award by Derby Fire Chief Brad Smith for their life-saving actions on Nov. 14, 2016, after responding to a house fire with a confirmed trapped victim. Firefighters Aaron Fent, Skyeler Reynolds, Hector Gonzales, Brady Scifres, Kyle Gasaway, Kenneth Linot and Chris Hodges were officially recognized with the award at the Derby City Council meeting on Dec. 12, 2017 by Smith and Kansas State Fire Marshal Doug Jorgensen.

The team was met with heavy fire conditions in the front of the house on the first and second floors when they arrived at the scene. While preparing to make an interior fire attack, one of the crew suffered an injury to his ankle that prevented him from assisting with interior operations. They continued an aggressive interior attack on the fire by advancing an attack line through the front door and extinguished the majority of the fire on the first floor before advancing the attack line upstairs. They also continued to assist with pumping operations until a water supply was established.

A Derby police officer told them he could hear the victim in the back bedroom. Gonzalez and Gasaway made entry into the house through a rear bedroom window and started a search for the victim. They located the victim in a hallway and removed him from the house through the back door.

Due to the injury of their crew mate, they split up to assist in both fire attack and search and rescue. The victim was transported by Sedgwick County EMS in critical condition to St. Francis where he passed away on Dec. 24, 2016 as a result of injuries sustained during the fire.        

“This crew demonstrated an ability to remain calm and execute at a high level under the extreme stresses of responding to a house fire with heavy fire involvement, a confirmed victim, and the injury of one of the first arriving members,” Smith said. “Their decision to continue with an aggressive interior fire attack despite losing a member of the crew, provided the necessary time and protection needed to find and recover the victim.”

The Tom McGaughey Fire Service Award recognizes exemplary accomplishments and acts of heroism by firefighters and other persons at fire-related incidents in Kansas. The individual or team is recognized for their acts above and beyond their basic duties and responsibilities, and for exemplifying the finest traditions of the fire service. The award is named in memory of Wichita Fire Chief Tom McGaughey who perished in a fire, along with three others (Chief Fire Inspector Merle O. Wells, Firefighter Jimmy L. Austin and Firefighter Dale J. Mishler) at the Yingling Auto Dealership on November 21, 1968.

“It’s a pleasure to recognize this crew for their heroic actions last year,” Jorgensen said. “We can all be proud of the Derby Fire and Rescue Department and thank them for their dedicated service to the citizens of Derby.”