The Arkansas City Fire/EMS Department responded to an apartment fire on Nov. 27, 2022. (Courtesy Arkansas City Fire/EMS Department)

ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — The Arkansas City Fire/EMS Department took to social media Sunday to tackle what it calls noise being stirred up by a disgruntled former department member.

The ACFD Facebook post starts with brief information about two early Sunday fires. One was a large barn fire that crews put out successfully. The other was 45 minutes later at a two-story apartment building. ACFD, Winfield Fire and Udall Fire helped extinguish the fire and limit the damage. Both fires are under investigation.

Then the post takes a different tone.

“ACFD would like to address the noise, and that is exactly what it is, NOISE, that is coming from a disgruntled, recent, EX-member of our department that has created multiple fake social media posts, trying to discredit our department and its personnel,” it says.

ACFD did not say what was in the fake messages but said it was disrespectful to “all our hardworking, dedicated personnel who put their lives on the line every day!”

“They deserve and have earned much respect, and to have someone try to discredit their hard work is unacceptable,” ACFD said.

The ACFD says firefighters were able to discover who is behind the fake posts. It says the person had some “misconduct issues” before the new chief’s arrival.

KSN News asked the City of Arkansas City communications director who wrote the ACFD Facebook post. Shana Adkisson responded that Fire Chief Chris Ledeker wrote it. Ledeker took the role in September.

“With a new Fire Chief comes change,” he wrote in the ACFD post. “ACFD is currently transitioning to an advanced level of professionalism, accountability, efficiency, fiscal responsibility and increased effectiveness, with an emphasis on personal conduct and personnel management that our department has not experienced in many years.”

He says the ACFD is accomplishing this while still providing its usual services to the community.

Ledeker says the department has expanded recruitment efforts. It has:

  • Filled open, full-time positions with experienced firefighter/EMS personnel
  • Increased the number of firefighters, reserve firefighters, and part-time firefighters/paramedics
  • Created a command staff
  • Distinctly defined the chain-of-command
  • Assigned a full-time training officer for the first time

According to the fire chief, the training officer position will save the town thousands of dollars and create in-house training opportunities that are lacking.

“Change can be hard, but through perseverance, dedication, hard work, and much prayer, the department will continue to improve to meet the needs of the community and accomplish each goal set forth,” Ledeker said in the Facebook post.

He ends with a request for the community’s continued support and prayers for the ACFD and city leaders.

KSN News asked Adkisson if the City had any comment about the chief’s post. She said it does not.

We also asked if she could provide the name of the ex-employee.

“The City of Arkansas City is uncertain of the individual referenced in Chief Ledker’s post,” she said.