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KIRKWOOD FIRE DEPARTMENT






KIRKWOOD NARROWS LIST OF FIRE CHIEF CANDIDATES TO FIVE

March 11, 2016 - City of Kirkwood

KIRKWOOD, MO. - The City of Kirkwood is pleased to announce the names of the five final applicants for the position of Fire Chief for the City of Kirkwood.

The five long-time fire department professionals are Gary B. McCarraher, Leo A. Meyer, Jr., John J. Shea, George W. Sheets, and James L. Silvernail.

McCarraher is the Fire Chief of Franklin, Massachusetts. Meyer is the Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal for the Kirkwood Fire Department. Shea was the Fire Chief of Clinton Township, Michigan, until June, 2015. Sheets serves as Fire Chief of Oak Lawn, Illinois. Silvernail is a Battalion Chief with the Metro West Fire Protection District in Wildwood, Missouri.

The City had assistance from GovHR USA with the recruitment and received more than 70 applications. The five finalists will be in Kirkwood on March 17 and 18 for interviews with Chief Administrative Officer Russ Hawes. At that time they will also participate in an Assessment Center, which is a process whereby the candidates are evaluated in a variety of areas by a group of observers from outside the City.

"Meet the Finalists" Reception: A reception will be held at 5:30 p.m., on Friday, March 18, at Kirkwood City Hall in Council Chambers. This is open to the public for anyone wishing to meet the finalists. Comment cards will be available for anyone wishing to leave comments about one or more of the candidates, and these will be forwarded to the Chief Administrative Officer. More Headlines for Kirkwood Fire




KIRKWOOD FIRE DEPARTMENT WILL JOIN THE SPECIAL NEEDS TRACKING

February 23, 2016 - Kirkwood Fire Department Facebook

KIRKWOOD, MO. - The Kirkwood Fire Department will join the Special Needs Tracking and Awareness Response System (STARS) to help identify and better treat pediatric patients with special needs in the Kirkwood/Oakland areas.

STARS was developed in conjunction with Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital to give emergency responders a management plan for children with a significant developmental delay, seizure disorders, cardiac history, cerebral shunts, tracheostomies, or any other atypical diseases or syndromes. These children are at higher risk for emergency care, and having vital information before the need arises gives responders a head start with patient care.

Patients and responders have opportunities to meet and become familiar with each other before an emergency. This helps the patient feel more secure when he or she personally knows the paramedics who respond when needed. The parents and the paramedics will develop a plan for each specific child in the program based on the child's history and needs. That information will be a valuable resource when Kirkwood paramedics are dispatched to that STARS' patient's home.

Parents or guardians are encouraged to contact the Kirkwood Fire Department to enroll their child in the STARS program if their child lives in the Kirkwood/Oakland area.

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KIRKWOOD FIRE DEPARTMENT PURCHASES UV-C DISINFECTION LAMP FOR VEHICLES


Photo by Kirkwood Fire & Rescue

February 23, 2016 - Kirkwood Fire & Rescue Facebook

KIRKWOOD, MO. - The Kirkwood Fire Department has purchased a new UV-C Disinfection Lamp for use in all KFD ambulances and buildings. The new lamp will be used to help disinfect ambulances and fire houses in the City. These lamps have been shown to protect the public and fire department personnel from exposure to contagious organisms. When used regularly, they will provide 99.9 percent disinfection, killing all known bacteria, viruses, mold, protozoa, and yeast. When used in conjunction with topical disinfection, this technology provides a safer environment for patients and staff.

KFD personnel will incorporate the new lamp into their weekly deep cleaning efforts. The lamp is portable and can be moved between fire houses and vehicles. Tentative goals are to purchase additional lamps in the future.

In addition to using the lamps inside ambulances and other vehicles, crews can use them to disinfect living spaces, such as bunk rooms, to stop transmission of disease before it causes an outbreak of colds or flu. This is especially important in fire departments, where crews share living space 24 hours a day. The goal is to keep our fire department staff healthy and the fire houses clean for all who visit or tour our facilities.

What is a UV-C Light? UV-C is shortwave ultraviolet radiation and is in the invisible "C" band ultraviolet rays that make up part of the sun's light spectrum. Primary uses have been for destruction of bacteria and other microorganisms in the air, in liquids, and on surfaces. UV-C is germicidal. It deactivates the DNA of bacteria, viruses, mold, and other pathogens, destroying their ability to multiply and cause disease. Since the first UV irradiation system was used, the disinfection of medical equipment using UV has been a common and reliable practice. More Headlines for Kirkwood Fire




NO ONE INJURED IN KIRKWOOD HOUSE FIRE


Kirkwood firefighters work the fire from the roof of the home in the 500 block of Woodard Drive on the morning of Feb. 13. photo by Bill Burckhalter.

February 19, 2016 - Webster-Kirkwood Times by Jaime Mowers

KIRKWOOD, MO. - A neighbor who called 911 when she saw smoke coming from the roof of a Kirkwood home Saturday morning may have saved the homeowner's life.

When firefighters arrived at the house in the 500 block of Woodard Drive shortly after 10 a.m. on Feb. 13, they saw smoke "seeping out from the shingles" and a car in the driveway, said Leo Meyer, assistant chief fire marshal for the city of Kirkwood.

"The car in the driveway lead us to believe someone was home, but we couldn't rouse anyone from inside," he said.

After forcing entry into the house, firefighters found the homeowner coming out of the bedroom - she had been sleeping, Meyer said, noting she was escorted from the home safely without injury.

There was light smoke on the main level of the home, but firefighters faced heavy smoke in the attic where the fire started and was contained, according to Meyer.

"There's significant damage to the roof and five of the trusses of the house," he said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but it's possible it was electrical in nature, Meyer said. He said he's glad the neighbor called 911 at the sight of the smoke.

"It was a very good job on the neighbor's part making that phone call," he said. "Had the neighbor not called, we would probably be telling a very different story."

Kirkwood Fire Department received mutual aid in responding to the fire from Glendale, Des Peres and Fenton.

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EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY - FIRE CHIEF

January 7, 2016 -

KIRKWOOD, MO. - The City is seeking an experienced Fire Chief to lead its full time Fire Department. The Department covers 9.8 square miles of area including the entire City of Kirkwood as well as 1,400 City of Oakland residents, for a total service-population of nearly 29,000 residents. The Fire Chief reports to the Chief Administrative Officer (City Manager). The Chief Administrative Officer is responsible to the Mayor and six City Council members, operating under the Council-Manager form of government. The current Fire Chief is retiring after more than 18 years of service to the City.

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KIRKWOOD FIREFIGHTERS PAY SPECIAL VISIT TO FLOOD VICTIMS


Kirkwood firefighters pay a special visit to flood victims temporarily staying in the city. (Photo: Kim Rankin)

January 1, 2016 - KSDK By Jacob Long

KIRKWOOD, MO. - Nathaniel Rankin of Jefferson County lives life like most toddlers his age.

"That was one of the things when we adopted Nathaniel, we really wanted to make sure we treated him like a normal child," said his father, Richard.

The biggest thing that sets the 3-year-old apart is that in order to survive, he always has to wear a tracheostomy.

Kim, his mother, said, "He needs constant supervision 24 hours a day."

Nathaniel's condition is so delicate his parents enrolled him in the STARS program through Cardinal Glennon in St. Louis.

STARS, which is short for Special Needs Tracking and Response System, provides critical health information about children with special needs to first responders across Missouri.

"Right off the bat when they get that call, they get notified by their dispatch center. They then reference a pre-plan sheet that will give them all the info they might need. It'll have common emergencies, procedures that should be avoided for that particular child, medications, etc.," said STARS co-founder Tricia Casey.

But when historic flooding this week forced the Rankins from their home, that meant Nathaniel would be far away from medics who are familiar with his special needs. The family has temporarily relocated to Kirkwood until rising waters allow them to return home.

"With Nathaniel being here and knowing just how unique his situation is, it scares us a little bit," Casey said.

That's why she took the time to let Kirkwood firefighters know he would be living in their jurisdiction for the time being should anything happen.

"The last thing a first responder wants to do is error on a child who has a condition you're not familiar with," Casey said.

But instead of just keeping a record of Nathaniel's medical information, the department took it a step farther.

On Friday morning, four firefighters came to visit the family and meet them all in person. Nathaniel even got his own fire hat.

"We were really taken back that they cared enough about Nathaniel and special needs kids in general that they would invest the time to be proactive and meet him," Kim said.

Richard said, "Today was definitely a sign that they wanted to prepared to meet the needs of those in their district."

Kirkwood Fire does plan on joining the STARS program.

Currently, it works with about 25 other departments across Missouri and is looking to expand into Illinois.

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KIRKWOOD FIRE DEPARTMENT IS TEAMING UP WITH MARINES FOR THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

November 13, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch PRESS RELEASE BY mathesmn

KIRKWOOD, MO. - December 11-12, 2015. This holiday season, The Kirkwood Fire Department is teaming up with Toys for Tots for a special opportunity to give back and spread cheer. The Fire Department's ambulance will be stationed on the parking lot of Wal-Mart, located at 1202 S Kirkwood Rd, Kirkwood, and doubling as Santa's sleigh as visitors stuff the empty truck with new, unwrapped, toys. These gifts will be delivered to children throughout the St. Louis area who would not have had a holiday gifts otherwise. Please join us as we help create the magic and joy of the holiday season for children in need.

The event will run from 5:00pm until 9:00pm on December 11th and 10:00am until 3:00pm on December 12th. The goal is to "stuff" the ambulance full of toys for those less fortunate. Marines will be on hand and there will be coloring activities for children. For those unable to make it to the event, the fire department will be collecting toys at its administration building Monday through Friday 8:30a-4:00p. The address for the fire house is 11804 Big Bend Road, Kirkwood, MO 63122.

For further information please contact Matt Mathes at 314-822-5883 or mathesmn@kirkwoodmo.org

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KIRKWOOD PLANS TO HIRE 7 NEW FIREFIGHTER-PARAMEDICS

October 16, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

KIRKWOOD - The Kirkwood City Council gave preliminary approval Thursday night to a bill allocating $219,000 to fund the salaries, benefits and equipment costs for seven new firefighter-paramedics in the last five months of the current fiscal year.

The firefighter-paramedics will staff a third ambulance being put into service in Kirkwood. It comes after city residents approved a 0.25 percent sales tax for the fire department on April 7. Campaigners for the tax proposition promised that if it won they would put a third ambulance into service and hire firefighter-paramedics to staff them.

The money would fund the seven firefighter-paramedics from Nov. 1 to March 31, the end of the fiscal year. The new ambulance would be at Firehouse No. 3 at 1321 West Essex Avenue. There already are ambulances at Firehouse No. 1 at 137 West Argonne Drive and Firehouse No. 2 at 11804 Big Bend Road.

Collection of the tax began on Oct. 1. Kirkwood is scheduled to get its first money from the tax in November.

The City Council is set to take a final vote on the measure at its Nov. 5 meeting.

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MAYOR DECLARES OCT. 9th "CHIEF OPENLANDER DAY"


Photo by Kirkwood Fire & Rescue

October 9, 2015 - Kirkwood Fire & Rescue

KIRKWOOD, MO. - Today we say goodbye to long time Fire Chief Tom Openlander and wish him a happy retirement.

As proclaimed by Mayor Art McDonnell, October 9th, 2015 is "Chief Openlander Day" in the city of Kirkwood. Thanks for everything Chief.

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LONG-TIME KIRKWOOD FIRE CHIEF TO RETIRE


Kirkwood Fire Chief Thomas Openlander is set to retire. Openlander was named fire chief in 1997, having been hired away from the Webster Groves Fire Department. photo by Ursula Ruhl

September 25, 2015 - Webster-Kirkwood Times

KIRKWOOD, MO. - Thomas Openlander says being chief in Kirkwood was "the honor of my life"

Kirkwood Fire Chief Thomas Openlander has announced his retirement effective Oct. 9 of this year.

Openlander worked for the city from January 1997 to July 2005, and from November 2007 to the present, both times as fire chief.

He retired in 2005 for medical reasons, having been diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis in 1998. After a two-year hiatus, Openlander returned to his post in 2007.

"I never really felt like I retired," Openlander told the Times in 2007, after being reinstated as fire chief. "More like I switched jobs and have spent the last two years working full-time on regaining my physical strength and mobility.

"the 2000 bond issue that Kirkwood voters overwhelmingly approved to rebuild the city's three fire houses and to save the historic fire house on Big Bend.

It was under Openlander's leadership that Kirkwood added an ambulance service to its fire department.

Earlier this year, in April, Kirkwood votes passed Prop 1, a quarter-cent sales tax for fire and ambulance services.

Prior to his employment with Kirkwood, he worked for the city of Webster Groves from 1980 to 1997. His last position with Webster was battalion chief.

"It has been the greatest privilege, and the honor of my life, to be the fire chief in Kirkwood," Openlander said. "While I am very pleased with what has been accomplished by the fire department under my leadership, I also believe that an effective leader understands when to step aside. I am confident that your new fire chief will possess the 'right stuff' to guide our department to even greater heights.

"I am very excited to see what great things lie ahead for the Kirkwood Fire Department as they continue to provide outstanding service to our community," Openlander continued.

Kirkwood will name an interim fire chief while it conducts a nation-wide search for a permanent replacement. The first step will be to hire a national search firm. A request for proposal to such firms has been prepared and will be issued shortly, according to a statement from the city.

The estimated time to hire a search firm, select candidates, conduct interviews, and hire a new fire chief is six months, according to the city.

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ARNOLD MAN CHARGED WITH STEALING KIRKWOOD AMBULANCE FROM HOSPITAL


Mark Ferry, of Arnold, was charged with taking an ambulance Sept. 11, 2015, while it was parked outside St. Anthony's Medical Center

September 14, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Joel Currier

KIRKWOOD - An Arnold man has been charged with stealing an ambulance parked Friday outside an emergency room in St. Louis County.

Mark Ferry, 36, of the first block of Ozark Hills Mobile Home Court, was charged Saturday with stealing a motor vehicle and second-degree burglary. Ferry was jailed in lieu of a $20,000 bail.

Police say Ferry took an unlocked Kirkwood ambulance parked outside St. Anthony's Medical Center about 12:15 p.m. Friday. Paramedics were inside the hospital with a patient at the time. The keys were in the cab, but the ambulance's engine was off.

An hour later, a resident of the 5300 block of Ferbet Estates Drive, near Butler Hill and Kerth roads, called police to report a Kirkwood ambulance parked in her driveway. An officer noticed a broken window in the rear of the woman's home and requested backup.

A police dog and officers found Ferry hiding in an upstairs bedroom. During the arrest, the dog bit Ferry's arm. He was found with the keys to the ambulance in his pockets. Police also found bags of clothing and medications bearing Ferry's name.

A Mehlville Fire Protection District ambulance returned Ferry to St. Anthony's for treatment of the dog bite.

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KIRKWOOD AMBULANCE STOLEN FROM ST. ANTHONY'S HOSPITAL


Photo by KMOV

September 11, 2015 - KMOV

ST. LOUIS, MO. - An ambulance was stolen from outside of St. Anthony's Hospital in South County Friday.

Police said someone drove off with the Kirkwood Fire Department ambulance around noon on Friday. A suspect was taken into custody near the area of Butler Hill and Kerth when a homeowner arrived home and noticed the ambulance was parked in their driveway.

An officer who responded to the home noticed a shattered rear window and a K9 was used to find the 36-year-old suspect in an upstairs bedroom. The suspect's name has not been released.

No other information was released.

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FIREFIGHTERS RECOGNIZED FOR LIFE SAVING EFFORTS

April 23, 2015 - Kirkwood Fire/Rescue

KIRKWOOD, MO. - Kirkwood Fire / Rescue would like to congragulate Firefighter-Paramedics Dan Fischer (left) and Matt Mathes (3rd from left) for the recognition award they received from the Kirkwood American Legion and Kirkwood Optimist Clubs. Dan and Matt, along with their crew, were instrumental in the recovery and treatment of a citizen stricken with a cardiac emergency while lost in a nature park last winter.

Pictured also are Kirkwood Mayor Art McDonnell and Fire Chief Tom Openlander. Good work fellas

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FIREFIGHTER RETIREMENT

April 13, 2015 - Kirkwood Fire & Rescue

KIRKWOOD, MO. - Kirkwood Fire Rescue bids farewell and best of luck to our co-worker Rex "the boss" Franke who is retiring from the Fire Dept. to move his family back to the Philippines. Rex is starting a mission to help the poor and needy in his home country...a good man doing good work. We love ya brother, thank you for your years of service.

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SALES TAX WOULD MAKE MORE STAFF POSSIBLE

March 13, 2015 - Webster-Kirkwood Times By Dennis Hannon

KIRKWOOD, MO. - Fire chief wants to hire 7 firefighter/paramedics for ambulance with quarter-cent tax for fire/ambulance.

The Kirkwood City Council seems to have settled on how funds will be used from the quarter-cent sales tax for fire and ambulance services which will be on the April 7 ballot: A full-time staff for what is now an un-manned ambulance.

Kirkwood keeps two fully staffed EMS vehicles at two fire houses. A third "certainly would make the city whole in terms of having staffed fire houses and the ability to answer any kind of call," said Mayor Art McDonnell after the council's March 5 meeting.

"So many more of the runs the fire department makes these days are EMS calls," McDonnell said. "I think it would be a wise expenditure of funds. It would make me feel a little more comfortable about the community and its (public safety) coverage."

The city has a third EMS vehicle, which it keeps at Fire House No. 3. However, there is no full-time staff to keep it in continuous service.

When firefighters must leave their engine to serve as paramedics, fire protection is compromised, especially in the area of Fire House No. 3, Openlander said. This has happened up to 100 times a year, Openlander said in a letter to Chief Administrative Officer Russell Hawes.

The seven new firefighter/paramedics would cost about $525,000 a year, Openlander said. The new quarter-cent sales tax would provide about $1.1 million, according to the estimates used by the city.

Hawes has said that the balance of the proceeds from the new tax would be available for use in the general fund. State law does not require that the sales tax be specially earmarked, but it does mandate proceeds be used for fire and ambulance services. Kirkwood would meet that requirement because its general fund budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year allots more than $5.2 million to the fire department - far exceeding the proceeds of the new sales tax.

State statute authorizes the special tax to be levied in fire districts and municipalities with fire departments. Of the 17 St. Louis County municipalities eligible to collect the tax, only Kirkwood and Glendale do not.

McDonnell, along with former mayor Herb Jones and former council member Barb Byerly, signed a letter promising that "passage of this measure ensures continued first-class service in Kirkwood."

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FIRE CHIEF WANTS TO HIRE FIREFIGHTERS WITH SALES TAX

February 27, 2015 - Webster Kirkwood Times by Dennis Hannon

KIRKWOOD, MO. - Kirkwood Fire Chief Tom Openlander (photo) has asked the Kirkwood City Council to commit to using about half of the expected proceeds of the proposed fire and ambulance sales tax, which will appear on the April 7 ballot, to hire seven new firefighter/paramedics.

The new personnel would staff an ambulance the fire department keeps at the city's Fire House #3, Openlander said. That station, unique among Kirkwood's three fire houses, has no permanent paramedic staff, though an ambulance is kept on the premises. When a medical emergency arises in the vicinity of Fire House #3, an ambulance is dispatched from one of the city's other two stations. When more than two ambulances are needed, things often can get muddled, Openlander said.

"The fire department is forced to take the crew off the fire truck at Fire House #3 and put them on the ambulance that sits unstaffed at the station," he said in a letter to Chief Administrative Officer Russell Hawes. "This leaves the fire truck at Fire House #3 without a crew.... to respond in the event of a fire or other emergency."

This "creates regular confusion for the crews in the station and also for the dispatchers," Openlander said. "We must constantly change on the fly depending on the changing conditions we are presented with."

Such situations arise up to 100 times a year, he said.

Openlander said he had never presented the situation to the council because he knew there was no money to fix it. Now, with the possibility of a quarter-cent sales tax for fire and ambulance services, that has changed, he said when addressing the council at its Feb. 19 meeting.

If approved by voters, the new sales tax is expected to produce $1.1 million its first year, and more thereafter.

Openlander said the seven new fire department personnel would cost about $525,000 a year.

State law permits municipalities that provide fire and ambulance services to levy a special quarter-cent sales tax. The understanding is that the money will be used for that purpose, though there is no legal restriction on how it is spent. Fifteen other St. Louis County municipalities - out of 17 that are qualified - levy the tax.

An accident of timing requires the city to approve its next budget before it knows the result of the tax election. The city charter requires that a budget ordinance be enacted prior to the beginning of the 2015-16 fiscal year, April 1. The election is April 7.

Hawes said he would support an allocation for the new fire department staff immediately upon passage of the quarter-cent sales tax. Further, he said the council should vote to issue a public statement to that effect. No vote was taken, however.

Several council members have remarked that the city should make some statement to voters on how the sales tax proceeds would be used.

Council Member Gerry Biedenstein has advocated that a fixed portion of the funds be used for street repairs.

The council held its annual public hearing on the budget Feb. 19, but postponed discussion until its meeting March 5.

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KIRKWOOD HOME DESTROYED BY FIRE


Photo by Kirkwood Fire Department

December 23, 2014 - Kirkwood Fire Department

KIRKWOOD - Kirkwood Fire Department responded to a fire in a residence Monday on Couch Ave. No injuries were reported but the house was heavily damaged. Kirkwood was assisted by Glendale, Fenton, Crestwood and Valley Park fire departments.

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KIRKWOOD PREPARES TO ASK VOTERS FOR SALES TAX FOR FIRE, EMERGENCY MEDICAL WORKERS

December 21, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

KIRKWOOD - The Kirkwood City Council had the first reading last week of a bill to ask voters on April 7 to approve a 0.25 percent sales tax for fire and emergency medical services.

It is scheduled for a final vote on Jan. 8.

Passage of the initiative would bring the Kirkwood Fire Department about $1.1 million a year in new revenue.

Seventeen cities in St. Louis County with municipal fire departments are allowed to use sales taxes to fund their departments. Only Kirkwood and Glendale haven't approved the taxes.

Kirkwood public information officer Beth von Behren said that since 2008, Kirkwood city expenditures have been growing faster than revenues. They now outstrip revenues.

Meanwhile, the percentage of the budget taken up by fire and police increased from 52 percent in fiscal year 2008 to 60 percent in fiscal year 2014.

This is one way to deal with this situation, von Behren said.

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KIRKWOOD FIRE DEPARTMENT TEAMING UP WITH MARINES AND THE MAGIC HOUSE

November 14, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch BY mathesmn

KIRKWOOD - This holiday season, The Kirkwood Fire Department is teaming up with The Magic House and Toys for Tots for a special opportunity to give back and spread cheer. The Fire Department's ambulance will be pulling into The Magic House's parking lot and doubling as Santa's sleigh as visitors stuff the empty truck with new, unwrapped, presents. These gifts will be delivered to children throughout the St. Louis area who would not have had a holiday present otherwise. Please join us as we help create the magic and joy of the holiday season for all children.

The event will run from 10:00am until 3:00pm on December 13th. The goal is to "stuff" the ambulance full of toys for those less fortunate. Marines will be on hand and there will be coloring activities for children. For those unable to make it to the event, the fire department will be collecting toys at its administration building Monday through Friday 8:30a-4:00p. The address for the fire house is 11804 Big Bend Road, Kirkwood, MO 63122.

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FIREFIGHTERS BATTLE 2ND ALARM BLAZE AT KIRKWOOD HOME

March 5, 2014 - KMOV

KIRKWOOD - Firefighters are battling a 2nd alarm blaze at a Kirkwood home Wednesday evening.

The call came out around 4:30 for a fire at the neighboring home of the Frank Lloyd Wright House on N. Ballas Road.

Fire crews are on scene working to control the flames. It is still unclear if the home was occupied at the time. A seocnd alarm was struck 5 p.m. as more crews arrived to assist at the scene.

Information into the extent of the fire was not immediately known.

Stay with News 4 and KMOV.com for the latest on this developing story.

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