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In 2007, Sedgwick County, Kansas Lt. Byron “Bubba” Johnson was electrocuted while on a grass fire. Now, ten-years later, Lt. Johnson is at the center of a controversy over how he is to be remembered.
Since Lt. Johnson’s death, small stickers with the name “Bubba” have been on some fire apparatus in the county. Last week, Sedgwick County Fire Chief Tavis Leake ordered the removal of this stickers because they were unauthorized.
“The directive that Chief Leake put out last week was, hey, let’s get these five stickers off of these two trucks. It was not authorized. They’re not fair to the other two families of fallen firefighters,” said Assistant Sedgwick County Manager Tom Stolz.
Stolz said the stickers were approved by the former administration. He said Chief Leake was not aware of the stickers on the trucks until a couple of weeks ago when command staff was putting hiring decals on the engines. Stolz said once Chief Leake was made aware of them, he gave the removal directive.
“Chief Leake had talked with his fire commanders, his division chiefs to determine if anyone had authorized that,” Stolz said. They talked amongst themselves, nobody had, and the chief’s main concern, which would be any body’s concern who is a chief in any body’s organization, is this does not seem fair to other two victims who have living-family members and friends still in the community.”