One Driver Dies in Two Vehicle Accident in North Judson

Range Road wreckA semi vs. passenger car accident at the intersection of State Road 10 and Range Road just east of North Judson Monday morning resulted in fatal injuries.

Officers arrived at the scene shortly after 11 a.m. and found a semi tanker on its side engulfed in flames. The passenger car involved in the accident was located on the side of the roadway, according to the accident report. The driver was airlifted from the scene to South Bend Memorial Hospital where she later died of her injuries. The passenger and the semi driver were taken to IU Health Starke Hospital and later transferred to South Bend Memorial Hospital. Their medical conditions are unknown.

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North Judson Fire Under Investigation


Firefighters from the North Judson-Wayne Township and San Pierre Fire Departments spent about two hours extinguishing a trailer full of tires that caught fire last evening in North Judson. They were dispatched to the fire at the end of Sheridan Avenue at the old Cravens factory around 5:30 p.m. Fire Chief Joe Leszek tells WKVI news the cause has not yet been determined. No injuries were reported.


WKVI Raises $200 for Hoosier Burn Camp

WKVI morning show host Tom Berg and sports director Nathan Welter answered their cold water challenge Thursday afternoon in the radio station parking lot. They were called out by news director Mary Perren to either donate $10 to the Hoosier Burn Camp and get wet or stay dry and write a $100 check. The guys decided to play along, so members of the Bass Lake Fire Department brought their dump tank to our parking lot and filled it with water. Several listeners also stopped by with extra ice and donations to really help the guys chill out. Another Step Forward Walking Challenge Coordinator Ryan Greer had also been called out previously, as had fire chief Les Jensen. They took the plunge as well. So did Knox High School Band Director Craige Phipps, who opted not to prolong his torture when Nathan called him out. WKVI raised $200 in donations for the Hoosier Burn Camp, thanks to the generosity of the listeners who donated and the staff for being such good sports.

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No Injuries Reported in House Fire Near Toto


The North Judson-Wayne Township Fire Department responded to a house fire near Toto last night and spent more than two hours getting the blaze under control. The house is located west of Toto between 100 West and Range Road, according to dispatchers with the Starke County Sheriff’s Office. No injuries were reported. Firefighters were called out at 7:45 last night and left shortly after 10 p.m. There’s no word yet on the extent of the damages. We’ll update our story as soon as we talk to the fire chief.

Fire Destroys C&C Salvage


An investigator from the state fire marshal’s office will be called in to determine the origin and cause of a fire that destroyed a Starke County business. The Bass Lake Fire Department was initially called to C &C Salvage on U.S. 35 south of Toto Road at 5:17 p.m. Thursday night, according to dispatchers from the Starke County Sheriff’s Office. A black mushroom cloud of smoke could be seen for miles. Firefighters from the Knox, North Judson, Hamlet, Washington Township, Koontz Lake, San Pierre and Monterey were all called in to assist. Bass Lake Fire Chief Les Jensen says one firefighter suffered minor injuries. Continue reading

Recent North Judson Fire Ruled Accidental


A North Judson family lost their home the day after Christmas due to an accidental fire. The North Judson-Wayne Township Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to the home on Wesley Street around 2:45 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 26 and remained on the scene for about two hours. Nobody was injured, but the family’s dog died in the blaze. Fire Chief Joe Leszek tells WKVI News the trailer fire was started by the homeowner trying to unthaw pipes.

Firefighters Respond Quickly to House Fire in North Judson

Firefighters from the North Judson-Wayne Township Fire Department responded to a house fire Saturday afternoon.

Fire Chief Joe Leszek told WKVI that they were called out at about 12:07 p.m. CT Saturday to 3800 W. Third Street in North Judson. When they arrived at the scene, they found the home’s garage and the home on fire. Leszak said all occupants got out of the home safely and no injuries were reported.

The fire had started in the garage and spread quickly to the home. Leszek indicated that the home was not a total loss but heavily damaged.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Overnight Fire Destroys San Pierre Grain Elevator


Firefighters from four departments in three counties spent the night fighting a blaze at the grain elevator in San Pierre. Dispatchers got a call about the fire just after 9 last night and notified the San Pierre Volunteer Fire Department. They were assisted by North Judson, Medaryville and Wheatfield. No injuries were reported, and the firefighters cleared the scene at 1:12 this morning. There’s no word yet on the origin of the blaze.

Several Fires Reported over the Weekend

Firefighters were busy responding to various calls this weekend.

Spring fever has hit and everyone has been out cleaning yards and burning unwanted brush and leaves. Firefighters ask that you not burn anything outside on days where the gusty winds are forecast. It’s safer to put off until a calm wind is predicted in order to burn things outside.

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North Judson Fire Destroys Home; No Injuries

 The North Judson-Wayne Township Fire Department battled a house fire Saturday in the 200 block of Weninger Street in North Judson.

Police were notified of the fire who then alerted the Starke County Sheriff’s Department to dispatch the fire department. Firefighters arrived on the scene and extinguished the fire. No injuries were reported and the homeowner was not home at the time of the fire. The structure was a total loss.

The fire department was called back to the scene later that day for a rekindle.

Fire Chief Joe Leszek stated that the fire started by the water heater and while no suspicious circumstances were cited, the homeowner’s insurance company will be investigating the incident from here.

Local Fire Departments Undergo Live Fire Training in Lakeville

Pictures provided.

Members from the Hamlet, Washington Township, Knox-Center Township and North Judson-Wayne Township fire departments recently participated in a live fire training in Lakeville.

On Dec. 28, the Mobile Live Fire Training Trailer Unit traveled to Lakeville so the firefighters could train in the mobile flashover training simulator free of charge. Two weeks prior to this training, instructors in Starke County were given instruction in the “train the trainer” program and all went well.

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Fire Chief Joe Leszek Retains Position Another Year

For the third year in a row, Joe Leszek will be filling the shoes of North Judson-Wayne Township Fire Chief, having been nominated by the 25-member department. Mike Scutchfield remains as the assistant fire chief despite being nominated by Leszek for the chief position, as Scutchfield’s work schedule did not allow enough time for him to handle the additional responsibilities. Fortunately, Leszek said the teamwork between the pair is phenomenal.

“It’s great. Mike Scutchfield is a great assistant chief; I nominated him for chief this year, and with his work schedule, he’s just unable to fulfill some of the responsibilities that the town board has. Hopefully in the near future he’ll be taking over for me!” Leszek said.

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