Peninsula fireman helps Kansas town

Frank Fraone is no stranger to disasters.

In the 17 years since he joined the Menlo Park Fire Department disaster-response team, the division chief has pitched in at the scenes of the Oklahoma City bombing, the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and Hurricane Katrina.

Now, Fraone is in Greensburg, Kan., along with hundreds of other fire department personnel from across the country, helping the town get back on its feet after it was torn apart by a tornado May 4.

Roughly 90 percent of the town was destroyed in the tornado, which left 10 people dead.

“People are bonding together, and they want to rebuild their lives and homes,” said Menlo Park Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman. Fraone has checked in with Schapelhouman twice a day since he arrived on scene Monday.

Greensburg’s first order of business is to clear all debris off city and county-owned land and streets, so utilities such as water, sewer, electricity and telephones can be restored, according to city spokeswoman Karen Watson.

“It’s going to be quite an effort to remove it all,” Watson said.

The majority of the town’s 1,400 residents are being housed in shelters provided by neighboring towns, or with friends and family. FEMA trailers can’t be set up until the sewer system is re-established.

As Fraone responds to crises across the nation, he gains experience he can use at home, according to Schapelhouman, who also responded to the World Trade Center attacks.

“We have a very good, very realistic understanding of what happens in significant disaster,” Schapelhouman said. “It gives you an understanding of how to manage large-scale events.”

bwinegarner@examiner.com


Get all the latest news about the Kansas tornado at Examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocalneighborhoods

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

School board backs continued distance learning for fall

After a lengthy discussion Tuesday, the Board of Education is backing plans… Continue reading

Crowded neighborhoods left out of Slow Streets

Tenderloin, SoMa seen as bad fit for car-free program

City attorney seeks to block contractor in Nuru scandal from obtaining government contracts

AzulWorks’ attorney calls the effort ‘a drastic measure that is unwarranted’

Supes approve $2.1M settlement over sewage spills at SF’s Hall of Justice jail

San Francisco has tentatively agreed to pay out a total of $2.1… Continue reading

US backs down in fight with Harvard, MIT over student visas

The U.S. backed down from a high-profile confrontation with two elite universities… Continue reading

Most Read