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

Giants second baseman Donovan Solano scores on a double in the seventh inning against the Dodgers at Oracle Park on July 29. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Will the Giants make the playoffs? Kris Bryant may be the answer

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner You’d be hard-pressed to find… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, owner of Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in San Francisco’s La Cocina Marketplace, was dismayed by gentrification she found when she returned to her hometown to start a business. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

A prescribed fire at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was conducted in June 2016 to reduce hazardous fuel loading, increase watershed health, and restore the natural fire cycle in the Redwood Canyon area ecosystem. (Photo courtesy Rebecca Paterson/National Park Service)
Experts, UC scientists discuss wildfires in the state’s riskiest regions

Wildfires are nothing new in California’s history, but the magnitude and frequencies… Continue reading

Fourth-grade students at Lucerne Valley Elementary School don masks and Western wear for a “Walk Through California” history day during in-person instruction. (Courtesy of Krystal Nelson)
Confusion over mask mandate for California schools sparks tension between districts and parents

By Diana Lambert EdSource Shifting rules around mask mandates at schools are… Continue reading

In his extensive filming of The City during the pandemic, Eric Goodfield said he has been “observing how the environment affects the behavior of people.” (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Filmmaker Eric Goodfield fixes lens on SF’s COVID days

140 days of shooting in The City made for ‘greatest adventure’

Most Read