Wichita firefighter suffers heart attack while battling house fire

Wichita firefighter Paul Wiebe
Wichita firefighter Paul Wiebe Courtesy of Wichita Fire Department

The wife of a Wichita Fire Department firefighter is thanking the community for their well wishes and thoughts after her husband fell through a floor while battling a blaze New Year’s Day and suffered a heart attack.

Paul Wiebe, 54, is recovering after surgery Thursday, Wichita Fire Marshal Brad Crisp said.

Wiebe and other firefighters responded to a house fire about 11 a.m. Thursday at 11200 W. Neville. Wiebe, who has worked for the department for 17 years, fell partially through the floor of the split-level home, Crisp said.

When he got outside, he was suffering chest pains. Firefighters treated him at the scene, and EMS took him to Via Christi Hospital St. Francis, where he underwent a heart catheter procedure. He was in serious condition.

“The procedure was successful, and he is resting,” Crisp said.

The fire caused significant damage to the home, Crisp said. The department estimated $100,000 in structural damage and $50,000 in damage to contents. The fire started after ashes from a smoker came into contact with a wood deck at the home. No one else was hurt.

Crisp said Wiebe’s wife, Debra, wanted to thank the community for their support.

“She’s received a lot of messages on social media,” Crisp said.

Reach Deb Gruver at 316-268-6400 or dgruver@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SGCountyDeb.