City of Joplin Names New Fire Chief

JOPLIN, Mo.—-Joplin City Manager Nick Edwards has announced Gerald Ezell as the new Fire Chief. Ezell brings more than 33 years of fire service to the community, with 20 of those spent in Joplin. He currently serves as Fire Chief for Maumelle, Arkansas.

“Gerald brings much experience to this position and will be an excellent addition to the City’s management team,” said Edwards. “As the City progresses with building Station 7 and addressing numerous actions plans involving the Fire Department, I am confident that he will serve the community well and lead the department with the intention of efficiency and cohesiveness.”

Ezell retired as a Battalion Chief from the City’s Fire Department in 2010. During his tenure in the department, he also served as a volunteer firefighter for the Diamond Area Fire Protection District. Upon his retirement from Joplin, he became the Fire Chief in Diamond and served four years in this role. Ezell then moved to Maumelle, Ark., to serve as their Fire Chief. He also is their emergency management coordinator.

Ezell is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer program at the National Fire Academy and holds the Chief Fire Officer designation. He has extensive training in safety and high-danger emergency response from National Incident Management Systems (NIMS) of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  He has a Bachelor of Science in management from Ashworth College in Norcross, Ga., and an Associate Degree in Fire Science.

“I am thrilled to be able to come back and continue my service to the citizens of Joplin and continue the rich tradition that the Joplin Fire Department has in providing top-notch customer service,” said Ezell. “Joplin is home and it is wonderful to bring my family back. I look forward to meeting with the tremendous employees of the Fire Department as well as the other City departments, and getting to work for the citizens. I want to thank City Manager Nick Edwards, City department heads, and employees for placing their trust in me.”

Chief Ezell’s appointment will begin Monday, February 7, 2022. He and his wife, Nancy, have two daughters, Gabrielle and Kayla, and a son, Smoke.

Community helps Miami family find new home after fire

MIAMI, Okla. – In May of 2020, fire destroyed the Miami, Oklahoma home of the Carson family. Unable to rebuild, they lived with family, until their more distant family came to lend a hand.

After the fire the Carson’s didn’t know what was next. But that didn’t last long. It took just one Facebook post and within five minutes, the kids had clothes. Friends, family and even some strangers rallied around them ready to help.

“Then the next day people were just driving by while we were cleaning up and stuff, just handing him money,” said Tess Carson. “The whole community just came together.”

Casey Carson’s family also stepped up in a big way.

“We had a lot of people especially my aunt and my uncle they let us live with them,” said Casey.

But the Carson’s, a family of five, wanted a place to call their own.

“It was very stressful. It was hard,” said Tess. “They (the kids) slept on the floor in the back. They didn’t mind it, but I knew they’d rather have their beds”.

They used donations and a year of savings to get to this point.

“Having our own space is nice. It’s good to finally go home,” said Casey

The Carson’s new home is also in Miami.

News to Know (06/30/2021)

Surfside, FL- In Surfside, Florida, rescue efforts continue six days after the collapse of a 12-story beachfront condo. The official death toll rose by 1 yesterday, with 149 people still unaccounted for.

Pea Ridge, AR- Officials have charged a second suspect in connection with the death of a Pea Ridge, Arkansas, Police Officer. 22-year-old, Shawna Cash, is charged with a number of crimes including capital murder, criminal mischief and aggravated assault. The other suspect 18-year-old Elijah Andazola is also charged with capital murder in connection with the death of Officer Kevin Apple. Authorities say the two ran over Apple, with a car.

Edna, KS- Authorities are investigating the cause of a mattress factory fire in Edna, Kansas. It happened around 9:30 Tuesday morning. Authorities say the factory is a complete loss. The nearby retail facility did not appear to be damaged. No one was hurt in the fire.

Grove, OK- Oklahoma, is taking action aimed at getting people back to work. Starting this week, the sooner state is offering a one-time incentive for Oklahomans returning to work following the end of State Unemployment Benefits. Anyone returning to work at least 32-hours a week is eligible to apply for a 12 hundred dollar payment. For an area that relies heavily on tourism like Grove, Oklahoma, getting more people to work is crucial. The Area Chamber says some Grove, businesses have only a fraction of the employees they need, and hope this incentive will help fix that

3 injured in explosion, fire at suburban Kansas City duplex

RAYTOWN, Mo. (AP) – Three people, including two children, have been injured in an explosion at a suburban Kansas City duplex.

Firefighters, police and medics responded around 7 p.m. Monday to the explosion and subsequent fire at the Raytown home. Witnesses reported seeing two boys who were conscious and alert wheeled from the scene on gurneys. A man also was injured and taken to a hospital for treatment.

Officials have not said what caused the explosion that leveled part of the duplex, but neighbors told television station KMBC they believed fireworks set off in the area led to the explosion and fire. The Missouri Fire Marshal is investigating.

Early morning fire engulfs Carterville home

CARTERVILLE, Mo. – Fire crews respond to the scene of a fire in Carterville, Missouri early Monday morning.

The fire broke out at 310 S. Elm Street. Neighbors say they saw the flames go up around 5:45 a.m. The fire caused extensive damage to the building’s roof.

There’s no word yet on whether anyone was inside at the time or if there were any injuries.

Fire devastates Whitehead Farm Supply in La Russell

LA RUSSELL, Mo. – A large fire left extensive damage at Whitehead Farm Supply in La Russell, Missouri Friday morning.

Firefighters received the call around 4:00 a.m. Avilla, Jasper, Carthage and Golden City Fire Departments responded to the scene. Crews had it under control before 6:00 a.m.

The fire leveled a building, however officials say no one was hurt. There’s no word yet on what caused the fire.

McKinley Elementary students show appreciation to first responders

JOPLIN, Mo. – Some Area Elementary students Wednesday showed their appreciation for first responders during a parade.

Fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars drove by Joplin’s McKinley Elementary. Students held signs and banners showing their support for first responders.

“It helps bridge the gap between the students and the first responders,” said special education teacher Kari Lewis. “So this first started out here at McKinley with us doing a pen-pal program with some of the students, police officers and firefighters. And because of the COVID regulations and stipulations they couldn’t come inside the building this year, so we decided to have a parade for them and show them how much the school appreciates them.”

The is the first-year students at McKinley participated in this type of special thank you.

Joplin Fire Chief Jim Furgerson to retire after 20 years of service

JOPLIN, Mo. – The City of Joplin announces the retirement of its fire chief.

Jim Furgerson has been with the department for 20 years. He was promoted to captain in 2006 and chief in 20-15.

The city says Furgerson and City Manager Nick Edwards will work on transition plans and name an interim chief in the upcoming weeks.

1 person found dead in Independence house fire

INDEPENDENCE, Kan. – Firefighters find one person dead inside a home in Independence, Kansas.

On May 6, 2021, around 9:00 a.m., Independence Fire and EMS responded to a house fire with someone possibly trapped. They got to the home in the 500 block of North 24th Street and found heavy fire showing.

Tower 1 crews performed a search and rescue, but the victim was found deceased.

The Independence Police Department and Kansas Fire Marshall Office are investigating the fire.

There were no other injuries due to the fire.

Joplin crews battle early morning house fire

JOPLIN, Mo. – Joplin Fire Department responded to a report of a house fire at 2421 S Florida Ave around 4:00 a.m. Wednesday. The lone occupant of the home escaped without serious injury.

When crews arrived, they found a single-story wood frame house showing flames and smoke. Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire. However, there was moderate heat and smoke damage throughout the residence.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.