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As Lewis County’s fourth large wildfire expands, some still ignoring burn ban

Thursday, August 27, 2015 at 8:46 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Alder Lake fire continues to grow and progress to the southeast, but an expected change to wet and cooler weather in Western Washington could bring some relief.

The National Weather Service indicates that tomorrow through the weekend rain will become locally heavy at times, especially in the mountains. Daytime temperatures are forecast to be lower than normal, with many lowland sites not even reaching 70 degrees, according to the weather service.

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Centralia-Alpha Road, 18 acres, Onalaska Aug. 4, 2015

The conditions could help reduce the size of or even end ongoing fires in the mountains, the forecasters said this morning.

The forest fire northwest of Mineral has now consumed 225 acres and is threatening residences on or near the Pleasant Valley Road, outside of Mineral. Those living there were told yesterday afternoon to start making plans to evacuate.

The firefighting effort is being managed by the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the state Department of Natural Resources. About 105 personnel remain assigned to the lightning-sparked fire that was discovered 17 days ago just south of Alder Lake.

While the end or break in the hot, dry spell is surely welcome news, Steve Mansfield of Lewis County Department of Emergency Management, cautions the public to remain vigilant about fire danger.

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Gish Road, 102 acres,
Onalaska Aug. 9, 2015

“The Pacific Northwest has reached such a low moisture level, it may take weeks once the rain starts before the danger of fire is reduced,” Mansfield stated in a news release today.

Although outdoor burning is usually prohibited during the driest months of the year in unincorporated Lewis County, officials earlier this month issued a ban on even recreational fires, as did the cities of Chehalis and Centralia.

Besides the Alder Lake fire, Lewis County has seen three other large vegetation fires already this month, each increasingly bigger. Last week a grass fire in Onalaska rolled through 175 acres, decimating a farming operation and consuming 200,000 chickens with their barns.

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Gore Road, 175 acres,
Onalaska Aug. 19, 2015

Still, some fire departments have been running a little ragged, responding to calls that turn out to be illegal burning.

Every time it rains a bit, that picks up, Firefighter Brad Bozarth said.

Bozarth estimated his department, Newaukum Valley Fire and Rescue in Napavine, has gone to 30 such calls since the restrictions were put in place.

“Usually its recreational fires, or someone burning trash,” he said.

For a first offense, the firefighters usually just advise the people of the rules, he said.

Earlier this week, Mossyrock’s fire chief was feeling less patient about those who’ve ignored the danger.

Lewis County Fire District 3 Chief Doug Fosburg said his department chased campfires all weekend. The offenders usually claim they didn’t know of the ban, he said.

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Alder Lake, 225 acres,
Elbe-Mineral area, ongoing

“People haven’t gotten the idea they can’t have open flames,” he said.

Each time he and his crews are toned out, they have to react as though it’s a working structure fire, with everyone responding, he said.

In one case, Fosburg said, the resident assumed since they’d watered their yard, it would be fine.

“I explained, you can’t control what goes airborne,” he said.

Both he and Salkum’s fire chief had to stop what they were doing at the Gore Road chicken farm to deal with illegal burns, he said.

Ignoring the outdoor burn ban can be costly even if one doesn’t accidentally burn down their neighbors house.

Acting Lewis County Fire Marshal Lee Napier said it’s a civil infraction which can bring a fine of up to $250.

On the criminal side, the sanction is a gross misdemeanor, with the possibility of a fine up to $10,000 and up to 364 days in jail.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said yesterday morning she wasn’t aware of any such citations issued this year.

Typically, reports of illegal burning are handled by the particular fire department, according to Brown.

“The fire department then goes out and evaluates the situation and typically educates the person,” Brown said. “If the person refuses to put it out or causes a problem, then we respond and use our discretion, as always, to evaluate the situation.”

Chief Fosburg said he doesn’t give people a choice. He  waits and watches the campfire getting put out, and sticks around to make sure it’s entirely extinguished.

“If I have to go back more than once, I will bring law enforcement with me,” he said.

The causes of the first three big fires are unknown, although the sheriff’s office said preliminarily the Gore Road incident was believed to have been sparked by a brush hog operating in a field. DNR is investigating them.

Outdoor burning in unincorporated Lewis County has been prohibited since mid-June, with the increased restrictions put into place within days of the Centralia-Alpha Road fire.

Those in the Mineral area have been advised to continue to monitor their local news media.

The weather service has also noted it it will likely become locally windy on Saturday due to a strong front moving across the area.
•••

For the details about the specifics:

The Lewis County Board of Commissioner’s resolution allows for enforcement under Lewis County Code 15.05.020.  The code referencing the penalty for violation is under RCW 70.94.430(1).
•••

For background, read “Fire evacuation alerts issued for residents west of Mineral” from Wednesday August 26, 2015, here

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, August 27, 2015 at 2:18 pm
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•••

GAS EXPLOSION AVERTED AT APARTMENT BUILDING

• A faint odor in a four story Chehalis apartment building yesterday afternoon drew the fire department and a technician who eventually discovered a third-floor apartment filling up with natural gas. Firefighters called just after 4:30 p.m. to the 200 block of Southeast Washington Avenue were told a tenant smelled it in a hallway and the crew detected a slight odor on the first floor, according to the Chehalis Fire Department. An employee of Puget Sound Energy responded with her meter, which led them to a unit where nobody was home, Fire Capt. Kevin Curfman said. They got the manager to let them in and discovered a stove burner turned on but not lit, Curfman said. It was not yet at an explosive level, but it was building up, he said. They shut off the range and aired out the apartment, he said. “It’s a good opportunity to remind people to be very careful with gas appliances,” Curfman said.

THEFT, THEFT, THEFT

• Chehalis police were called about 11:30 a.m. yesterday about a possible burglary to a fifth-wheel trailer on Southwest 13th Street.

• Centralia police were called just before noon yesterday about a backpack stolen from a vehicle parked at the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue. It was blue, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police were called just after 4 p.m. yesterday about a vehicle prowl possibly on Southeast Adams Avenue but were not able to reach the reporting party with the phone number they were given.

VANDALISM

• Someone threw a rock through the back window of a car at the 300 block of N Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police just before 8 o’clock yesterday morning.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, making a false statement, allowing unauthorized person to drive, driving with suspended license, driving under the influence; responses for dispute, misdemeanor theft, suspicious circumstances, concern an individual stumbling around might fall into traffic  … and more.

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News brief: Centralia officer target of woman wielding broken wooden handle

Thursday, August 27, 2015 at 12:00 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A woman who’d locked herself in a bathroom and allegedly tried to stab an arriving police officer was hospitalized and then jailed last night.

Centralia police were called about 2:50 p.m. yesterday for a disorderly person at the 300 block of North Gold Street, according to the Centralia Police Department.

When she was contacted, police said, she tried to stab the officer with the sharp end of a broken wooden handle. Rebecca L Higgins, no age or hometown immediately available, was then physically subdued, according to police.

She was transported to the emergency room at Providence Centralia Hospital to be evaluated for possible mental health, medical and/or drug overdose issues, according to police.

Higgins was treated and has been booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree assault, according to police.

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News brief: Pipe bomb found laying on Centralia roadside

Thursday, August 27, 2015 at 11:14 am
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Law enforcement parks near Haliday and Little Hanaford roads in Centralia. / Courtesy photo by Jason Brown

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A bomb squad retrieved a pipe bomb in north Centralia yesterday that was found on the side of the road by someone walking in the area.

The explosive device was discovered on Lundberg Road just after 11:30 a.m. and deputies secured the area until specialists with the Washington State Patrol could arrive, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

The pipe bomb was detonated – rendered safe – where it was found at about 2:30 p.m., Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. Then it was disposed of, Brown said.

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Improvised explosive device. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

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Fire evacuation alerts issued for residents west of Mineral

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at 7:32 pm
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Looking south across Alder Lake at mid-day on Tuesday. / Courtesy photo by Raymond Schrader

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A lightning-caused forest fire northwest of Mineral has grown from 60 acres to 173 acres since Friday and is progressing to the southeast, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

More than 200 members of the public attended a community meeting at the Mineral School last night to hear information about the wildfire and this afternoon, a level one evacuation notice was issued for people living on or near the Pleasant Valley Road.

A Code Red notification was sent out by the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office at about 3:45 p.m. today, to those who have registered their phone numbers with the emergency alert system.

“(Level one) means that danger exists and you should begin making arrangements to evacuate,” the alert stated. “Evacuations at this time are voluntary.”

Pleasant Valley Road is northwest of Mineral.

If the fire advances to necessitate a level two evacuation notice, residents should either voluntarily relocate to a shelter or with family or friends outside of the affected area, according to the Lewis County Department of Emergency Management. Those who choose to stay should be ready to go at a moments notice.

If a level two evacuation occurs, shelter would be setup in the Morton area, according to the sheriff’s office.

The fire was first reported two weeks ago, burning just south of Alder Lake. It is approximately four miles west of Elbe, five miles from Mineral and seven miles south of Eatonville.

It is being managed by the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the state Department of Natural Resources.

One hundred and five personnel are assigned to the fire, which is being battled with heavy equipment, fire engines, a helicopter and hand crews.

The fire behavior today was described as moderate, creeping, rolling and occasional torching. It’s burning in steep rugged terrain on a 60 percent slope.

The incident commander’s primary objective is to stop and hold eastward spread of the fire.

Fifteen homes are threatened, as are 20 other structures, all on the Lewis County side of the fire, according to Public Information Officer Kristen Bowles. The fire is only two percent contained. Forest Service Roads 74 and 7409 have been closed.

Alder Lake is at the intersection of Lewis, Thurston and Pierce counties.

A level three evacuation notice, if issued, would mean leave immediately because danger is current or imminent.

The Lewis County Sheriff’ Office indicated in its Code Red alert that people can get additional information from the sheriff’s office website or call the DEM information line at 360-740-1152. Locals may contact Alder Lake Fire Information at 360-623-5525.

Emergency Management recommends people continue to monitor their local news media as well.
•••

Other Resources:

• Northwest Large Fire Information Summary, here

• InciWeb Incident Information System, here

• The Forest Service-Gifford Pinchot National Forest on Facebook, here

• Sign up for Code Red alerts, here

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The south shore of Alder Lake dips into Lewis County. / Courtesy photo by Raymond Schrader

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at 12:42 pm
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•••

Updated at 1:21 p.m.

PROWLER: CATCH AND RELEASE

• Chehalis police were called about 6:15 a.m. today when a resident found someone rummaging through his vehicle, confronted the would-be thief and held him, until the subject displayed a knife. The truck was parked in an alley way behind the residence at the 300 block of South Market Boulevard, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The 40-year-old Chehalis man let go of the suspect who ran off, according to police. Nobody was hurt and the resident indicated it didn’t seem like the weapon was going to be used for an assault, but only to help the subject escape, police said. Officers are looking for a person of interest, department spokesperson Linda Bailey said this morning.

GRANDMA PUTS OUT FIRE NEAR TOLEDO RESIDENCE

• A 34-year-old Toledo man who allegedly lit a pile of his own belongings on fire and made threats to relatives was arrested yesterday morning. It happened around 8:50 a.m. at the 200 block of Blake Road south of Toledo and by the time deputies arrived at almost 9:30, Christopher B. Holten was gone, but his grandmother had run the well dry extinguishing the fire, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The pile was within 20 feet of the residence, according to the sheriff’s office. Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said Holten was apparently upset after an argument with his grandmother and said he didn’t need his belongings. Brown said when his aunt arrived, he made comments such as he would “end everyone” and that he would burn the house down. Holten was located walking along state Route 505 near Hopps Road at about 11:45 a.m. and taken into custody, according to the sheriff’s office. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for felony harassment. A case for second-degree reckless burning is being given to prosecutors for evaluation of charges, according to Brown.

POSSIBLE FORGERY

• A 37-year-old part time Chehalis resident called police yesterday and said he discovered someone had taken $3,000 out of his bank account last year. The case is under investigation, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

MISSING EQUIPMENT

• Centralia police took a report yesterday morning of a generator stolen from Main Street and Washington Avenue.

CAR PROWL

• Police were called just before 11 a.m. yesterday about a vehicle prowl at the 100 block of South Silver Street. Medication and money were missing, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DRUGS

• A 24-year-old Chehalis woman was arrested for possession of heroin late yesterday afternoon following contact with police at the 100 block of High Street in Centralia. Rosa M. Sanchez-Anderson, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

COLLISION

• Police responded about 8 p.m. yesterday to an incident near the southbound Interstate 5 offramp at Harrison Avenue in which a bicyclist ran into the side of a vehicle. Police say The bicyclist was going the wrong way. The rider sustained minor injuries.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting; responses for alarm, dispute, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street, loud neighbor music, complaint about feeling bothered because the same individual asks for money whenever caller goes into the bank on North Market Boulevard in Chehalis … and more.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 9:00 pm
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•••

SUMMERTIME CORN MAZE

• Jason S. Harding, 40, of Chehalis, was arrested last night after deputies, police and a K-9 searched a cornfield off state Route 6 for the man wanted for assaulting his step-father. He allegedly pointed a handgun at the 66-year-old man during an argument at the 600 block of Curtis Hill Road on Sunday. Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said this morning deputies learned he also kicked and punched the victim in the legs and head numerous times. Harding was found yesterday evening in the area as a passenger in a vehicle but fled on foot and eventually was “engaged” by police dog Lobo, Brown said, but then he jumped into a slough and tried to swim away. He was finally taken into custody at 8:25 p.m., Brown said. A 9 mm handgun missing from the home was located on the floorboard of the vehicle he had been in, according to  the sheriff’s office. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for unlawful possession of a firearm and for a 1995 warrant out of Clark County, according to Brown. The case for the assault, or assaults, has been referred to prosecutors for evaluation of charges, according to the sheriff’s office.

BREAK-IN CHEHALIS

• Chehalis police were called yesterday just before 1 p.m. regarding a burglary to a shed on Southwest Cascade Avenue. The hasp was pried open and an air compressor was missing, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The victim found four tires slashed on their vehicle also, according to police.

FRAUD

• Chehalis police were contacted yesterday by a woman who said she’d ordered something by phone using her debit card and when she got her bank statement saw a charge for $190 for something she did not purchase.

CAR PROWL

• Chehalis police were called yesterday by individual who reported their vehicle getting prowled on Friday while parked at the the Twin City Town Center on Northwest Louisiana Avenue. Among the items missing were a backpack and glasses, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

DISORDERLY HOUSE

• Chehalis police wrote a citation yesterday to a property owner on the 200 block of Southwest 14th Street for having a disorderly house. The municipal code violation is regarding the same home in which an investigation continues in connection with a resident recently lighting things in his room, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

DRUGS

• A deputy yesterday investigated a report of a Lewis County Jail inmate being in possession drugs, and re-booked Shinell N.D. Englund for possession of a controlled substance by a prisoner, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Englund was arrested and booked into the jail on Friday by Centralia police in connection with a theft case. The deputy learned Englund had had an orange rubber container with a tar-like substance as well as a clear toothpaste container with brown liquid, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. The material field-tested positive for heroin, according to Brown. The sheriff’s office didn’t say how or if she smuggled heroin into the facility.

VANDALISM

• Police took a report just before 7 p.m. yesterday of a building on the 400 block of North Washington Avenue in Centralia that got “tagged”.

• Construction equipment was painted with graffiti at Yew and Main streets in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday morning.

• Centralia police were contacted about 8:25 a.m. yesterday about a building getting tagged at the 900 block of Centralia College Boulevard.

ON THE ROAD

• A 27-year-old Chehalis woman was arrested last night after she allegedly backed into a laundry building as she was leaving a tri-plex on the 100 block of Reese Lane outside of Chehalis and didn’t stick around. A deputy called about 9:40 p.m. followed what the sheriff’s office called dusty tracks from the dirt road to a driveway at the 400 block of Highway 603. A deputy and a trooper contacted Kelsey D. Victorson and she was arrested for driving under the influence as well as hit and run, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, hit and run, misdemeanor assault, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, misdemeanor theft, counterfeit $20 bill, collision on city street, protection order violation, dogs alone in parked vehicle appearing in distress … and more.

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News brief: Two hurt in Jackson Highway crash

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 3:05 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Chehalis couple were seriously injured when their vehicle wrecked along the 3100 block of Jackson Highway yesterday, rolling onto its top and coming to rest against a utility pole.

Deputies and aid responding to the 1:20 p.m. call to the scene south of Chehalis found the 78-year-old driver with a severe chest injury and his wife with a possible broken neck, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said the husband may have fallen asleep, before the Dodge Ram pickup hit the ditch and came out rolling. The truck was totaled, Brown said.

Both patients were transported to Providence Centralia Hospital and then transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to Newaukum Valley Fire and Rescue Firefighter Maria Kennedy.

Brown said the man had been wearing his seat belt, but his 76-year-old passenger could not remember if she was or not.

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News brief: Chehalis police seeking information on missing teen

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 2:04 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Police have put out an alert for a 17-year-old Chehalis girl, missing for more than a week.

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Miranda R. Goble

Miranda R. Goble is from Chehalis but was last seen in Tumwater on Aug. 17, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

They ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to contact them at 360-748-8605 or after hours, at 360-740-1105.

When last seen, she was wearing a black hoodie, black pants, and large double gold hoop earrings, according to police. She has blond hair and hazel eyes and is 5-feet 4-inches tall, weighs about 165 pounds, according to police.

The teen’s photo and information have also been listed with the Washington State Patrol Missing Persons Unit.

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News brief: Centralia mill catches fire

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 9:48 am

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A fire broke out at a Centralia wood mill this morning, extending through the roof before it was extinguished.

Crews called at 5:30 a.m. to to the 3300 block of Galvin Road, just west of Harrison Avenue, found the building’s sprinklers had activated, keeping it under control, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

It didn’t take long before it was put out, according to Fire Capt. Terry Ternan.

It happened at Northwest Hardwoods. Nobody was injured.

The cause is under investigation. No estimate of the dollar amount of the damage is yet  available, Ternan indicated.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, August 24, 2015 at 8:45 pm
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•••

Updated

POINTING GUN AT FAMILY MEMBER

• Deputies are looking for a 40-year-old Chehalis man after he allegedly pulled a gun on his stepfather during an argument yesterday west of Chehalis. Deputies responding about 6:15 p.m. to the 600 block of Curtis Hill Road were told Jason Harding pointed the handgun at the victim but then got in a vehicle and left, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The case against Harding is being sent to prosecutors with a recommendation of a charge of first-degree assault, according to Chief Deputy Stacy Brown.

DOMESTIC SSAULT

• A 28-year-old Winlock man was arrested over the weekend after he allegedly choked his girlfriend until she nearly passed out when she told him she wanted him out of her house. Police called about 1:20 a.m. on Saturday to the 300 block of Cherry Street in Winlock learned it happened after the two had been fighting most of the evening and when she told him to leave and said she was calling police, according to charging documents. He allegedly threatened to kill her and put his hands over her nose and mouth to quiet her when she screamed for help, the documents state. Officers from Toledo and Napavine responded and contacted the suspect near the 800 block of Byham Road and arrested him according to authorities.  Richard C. Bruce Jr. was booked into the Lewis County Jail and charged today with for second-degree assault and felony harassment. Bail was set at $25,000.

THREATENING TO KILL

• A 48-year-old Chehalis man was arrested on Friday afternoon for felony harassment after police were told he was cussing and yelling at people walking by, and others who were looking in his direction, according to the Chehalis Police Department. An officer responding to the approximately 4:45 p.m. call to Chehalis Avenue and Prindle Street learned he frightened one woman so much when he said he would kill her, she ran into her house and locked the door, according to police. Timothy R. Foltz was subsequently arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail.

ZOOM, ZOOM

• A 24-year-old Chehalis man was arrested following a police pursuit involving a motorcycle about 8:45 p.m. on Friday along the 500 block of Southwest Newaukum Avenue in Chehalis. Robert P. Hogan was booked into the Lewis County Jail for attempting to elude, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Defense attorney Joely O’Rourke said the allegations of the class C felony seemed to be out of character for the individual with no criminal history when he was charged with the same offense in Lewis County Superior Court today. Judge Richard Brosey said 100 mph in the area was “a bit much” and set his bail with a $10,000 signature bond.

MASS CASH MISSING FROM COLLEGE LOCKER

• A 28-year-old woman was arrested on Friday in connection with a break-in to a locker at the gym at Centralia College in which a purse containing $5,000 cash as well as a laptop computer were missing. The victim reported on July 14 someone had cut the lock on her locker and taken her belongings; she said she’d just cashed some checks and had the money in a bank envelope, according to charging documents. A detective was led to the suspect through images from surveillance video which were placed on wanted posters around the college, the documents state. Shinell N.D. Englund told the detective she was showering at the college because her water was shut off, that she found the items on the floor of the locker room and took them hoping to find their owner, charging documents state. Englund estimated there was $1,800, some of which she gave to her roommate and the rest she spent on herself, the documents allege. She was charged today in Lewis County Superior Court with first-degree theft and her bail set with a $10,000 signature bond.

BURGLARY TOLEDO

• Sometime between Thursday and Sunday someone stole cash, jewelry, pictures and other items from a home on the 400 block of Smokey Valley Road outside Toledo, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

BURGLARY CENTRALIA

• Centralia police were called just before 2 p.m. on Saturday about a burglary at the 1400 block of South Gold Street. Police say jars and other unknown items were taken from a building. The investigation continues, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police took a report on Friday morning regarding $100 stolen from a house at the 200 block of North Ash Street.

BURGLARY MORTON

• Morton police reported this morning they are investigating  the theft of a laptop computer and a cell phone from the  200 block of Seventh Street to a reported stolen laptop and cell phone which was reported on Friday afternoon. The loss is estimated at $700, according to the Morton Police Department.

THEFT VADER

• Someone stole numerous items from the front porch and yard of a Vader home including an ice chest, a camp stove, tools and folding chairs, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. The theft from the 600 block of B Street occurred sometime after 10 p.m. last Wednesday and 8 o’clock the following morning, according to the sheriff’s office.

THEFT MORTON

• Morton police responded to a 6 p.m. call yesterday regarding an apparent attempted theft theft from a coin machine at the 100 block of Mossyrock Avenue in Mossyrock.

BORROWED CAR

• A 35-year-old Centralia man was arrested for allegedly taking his girlfriend’s vehicle without permission on Saturday and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Prosecutors declined to file  criminal charge against Jose L. Hernandez-Martinez and he was released from jail today.

INVESTIGATION IN CHEHALIS

• Chehalis police were called about 6:45 p.m. yesterday to Southwest 14th Street about an individual allegedly lighting stuff in his room. The incident is under investigation, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

FURNITURE DROP LEADS TO JAIL

• A 53-year-old woman was locked up in jail yesterday for allegedly leaving couch cushions by the river at the 500 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. Police responded to a call  just before 8 a.m. from a citizen who reported a suspicious female dumping couch cushions near the 500 block of Harrison Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department. Kristina L. Craighead, from Centralia, was subsequently arrested for illegal dumping and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

CAR PROWL

• Chehalis police were called to the 800 block of Southwest William Avenue about 9:30 p.m. on Saturday about numerous items stolen from an unlocked vehicle in a carport. Among the missing property was a motorcycle helmet and a can of chew, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Chehalis police took a report on Saturday night from the 200 block of Southwest 13th Street about a car prowl that occurred a couple of days earlier. Missing from a vehicle which had its window or windows down were itms such as a duffel bag, pocket knives and an iPhone, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Someone took sunglasses and keys from a vehicle at the 700 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.

DRUGS

• A 25-year-old man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine early on Saturday morning after an officer recognized him and tried to contact him along Southwest Pacific Avenue in Chehalis. Police say Jacob D. Holmgren, who has a Winlock address, ran off at about 2:30 a.m. but was apprehended by a police dog. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail also for a warrant from the state Department of Corrections, according to authorities.

KID IN CAR ALONE

• A 48-year-old Centralia man was arrested after police were called to Wal-Mart from someone who observed a parent or parent leave a little boy alone in a vehicle. The officer responding to the approximately 12:50 p.m. call on Friday to Northwest Louisiana Avenue contacted the 7-year-old child and waited for his parent to come out of the store, according to the Chehalis Police Department. “The dad said he didn’t realize it was illegal,” detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said. Robert L. Griffith was issued a citation for leaving a child alone in a motor vehicle, a gross misdemeanor, and then released pending a date with a judge in Chehalis Municipal Court, according to WIlson.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police took reports yesterday morning of “tagging on the side of a business on the 600 block of North Tower Avenue and of someone spray painting over a yard sign at the 500 block of West Cherry Street.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, malicious mischief, misdemeanor assault, shoplifting and other misdemeanor theft, driving under the influence, underage and drunk on vodka at the fair; responses for alarm, dispute, welfare check, hit and run, suicide attempt, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street, dog alone in parked vehicle appearing in distress, person living in a vehicle who used a field for a bathroom, a suspicious person walking around outside a business in the middle of the night who turned out to waiting for an employee, concern about a person riding a motorized skateboard up and down a street … and more.

•••

CORRECTION: This has been updated so the item labeled “ZOOM, ZOOM” reflects the correct amount for which bail was set.

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News brief: Sheriff’s Office: Alcohol maybe involved in Napavine area wreck

Monday, August 24, 2015 at 3:41 pm

Updated at 5:23 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning alcohol impairment and speed may have led to the crash early yesterday that sent two Chehalis residents to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Based on a conversation with the driver, Brandon A. Davis, 18, deputies believe he and his 20-year-old passenger had been at Walupt Lake before the 1996 Honda Accord wrecked into a tree at the 200 block of Kirkland Road, northeast of Napavine, according to the sheriff’s office.

Davis was not wearing a seatbelt and suffered broken bones and possible internal injuries, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said this morning. His passenger was seat belted but had a head injury as well as an injury to his foot, Brown said. Both men are from Chehalis, she said.

Investigators are awaiting toxicology test results but are referring the case to prosecutors for a possible charge of vehicular assault, according to Brown.

Responders found the men trapped in the wreckage, freed them, treated them and put them in a helicopter for transport to the hospital, according to Newaukum Valley Fire and Rescue.

Davis was listed in satisfactory condition this afternoon, according to a hospital spokesperson. No information was released about his passenger.
•••

For background, read “News brief: Car versus tree collision sends two to Harborview” from Sunday August 23, 2015, here

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Firefighters’ work at Gore Road fire done, mostly

Sunday, August 23, 2015 at 10:48 pm
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Salkum Fire Department’s fire engine-tender / Courtesy photo by Lewis County District 8

Updated

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – After three days of pulling apart a dozen 20,000 square-foot buildings to extinguish smoldering hot spots at the Onalaska chicken farm that burned, the all-volunteer fire department was able to turn the scene over to the property owner yesterday.

Firefighters from the state Department of Natural Resources finished their work the night before and put the fire on patrol status yesterday, Lewis County Fire District 8 Fire Chief Duran McDaniel said this morning.

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Wednesday Aug. 19, 2015

The fire that rolled through 175 acres of grass, tree lines and briars on Wednesday destroyed 12 large chicken barns, three or four tractors and one fire engine-tender that was abandoned when a wall of flames jumped a fire break where a crew was defending a large propane tank.

The farmer’s house was saved as was a neighbor’s barn and several other structures,

Neilson’s chicken farm is located on the 200 block of Gore Road, west of Salkum.

“I can’t thank all of the volunteers enough,” McDaniel said.

In a phone interview, the chief’s voice broke as he spoke of the help his department got from fire districts in three counties. And crews from Pacific County were on standby, he said.

“It’s overwhelming,” McDaniel said this morning.

Over the past three days, members of his department, with some help from Lewis County Fire Districts 6 and 1, worked until midnight, he said.

Eight of the 12 barns contained chickens. Thousands of chickens perished and with the heat, most were consumed, he said. Each wood-framed, metal-sided building measured 40 feet by 500 feet long.

They worked with crews from Draper Valley Farms and tractors, pulling back the metal to make sure everything was extinguished and to get rid of all the heat, he said.

A spokesperson with the Mount Vernon headquartered poultry company said 200,000 chickens were lost. Draper Valley owns the chickens; the farmer raises Draper Valley’s chickens under contract, according to Julie DeYoung.

“It’s a tragic situation and we are working with the farmer to minimize the economic impact from losing this flock,” DeYoung said. “We are thankful that no one was injured fighting the fire.”

Chief McDaniel said two very large stockpiles of sawdust have sprinklers on them, and will probably have to be torn apart as well to make sure nothing reignites.

“We’re blessed, we have volunteers that work opposite shifts,” McDaniel said, meaning they would leave to go to their regular jobs at different times.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office has said the fire is believed to have been sparked by a tractor-brush hog operating in a field.

The fire, among the largest seen in Lewis County, prompted evacuations for a mile around. Residents weren’t given the all-clear to return home until almost 8 o’clock on Wednesday night.

Officials have been warning all season that the exceptionally hot and dry summer is presenting extreme fire danger. Two weeks ago, McDaniel and his department assisted neighboring Lewis County Fire District 1 with a wildfire that was the largest McDaniel had seen in more than three decades – the Gish Road fire was 102 acres.

This fire was nearly twice as large.

“DNR confirmed the fire behavior we saw has only been seen in Eastern Washington,” McDaniel said.

All outdoor burning is banned. Only closed-lid barbecues are allowed.

Last night, McDaniel said, he responded to three calls for prohibited activities, including one campfire and two parties burning open-propane fires.

His message to members of the public today: “Please, please, observe the burning regulations.”
•••

For background, read “Onalaska chicken farm and almost 200 acres consumed by wildfire” from Thursday August 20, 2015, here

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News brief: Car versus tree collision sends two to Harborview

Sunday, August 23, 2015 at 12:07 pm

Updated at 1:02 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Two young men were injured when their car ran into a tree off the 200 block of Kirkland Road, northeast of Napavine overnight.

Firefighters from three departments responded to the approximately 3:10 a.m. call, which required “heavy extrication,” according to Newaukum Valley Fire and Rescue.

Firefighter Brad Bozarth said that meant they had to use their power tools to got into the car.

“The first fire units arrived on-scene to find two male patients trapped in the vehicle,” Firefighter Maria Kenndey said in a news release.

The patients were stabilized on scene and then airlifted from Bethel church’s parking lot to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to the fire department.

Both are listed as critical, Kennedy indicated just after noontime today

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News brief: Wind bringing smoke our way

Saturday, August 22, 2015 at 2:36 pm
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Skies over south Chehalis at mid-afternoon today.

Updated at 5:11 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Lewis County’s Department of Emergency Management wants the public to know the smoke being seen around the area today is traveling from the large wildfires on the eastern side of the mountains.

“There are no fires at this time in Lewis County,” DEM Manager Steve Mansfield said.

Lewis County 911 and the fire departments are getting lots of calls from people asking what’s burning, Mansfield said.

The state Department of Natural Resources and weather people are confirming it’s coming from the east, Mansfield said. And perhaps a little bit from the Alder Lake fire, he said.

South Lewis County is experiencing it to the degree that in places you can’t see the blue sky and smoke is sitting in low valleys, Mansfield said.

However, if anyone sees flames, or sees a column of smoke, they do need to call 911, Mansfield said.

Mansfield said he talked with Lewis County Fire District 8 Chief Duran McDaniel today and was told the Gore Road fire in Onalaska is maybe putting off little wisps of smoke.

And people are keeping an eye on the other places where there have been large fires locally, such as Gish Road and Centralia-Alpha Road, he said.

The Tenino Fire Department says their phone has been ringing off the hook this afternoon with callers wanting to know what is burning as well. They’ve verified with their central dispatch in Olympia the haze is coming from the east.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, August 21, 2015 at 9:54 pm
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•••

CENTRALIA DRUG DEAL UNDER SURVEILLANCE ENDS WITH ARRESTS

• Drug detectives arrested three people early yesterday morning in Centralia after an alleged exchange of $2,100 for a quarter pound of methamphetamine. Fifty-four-year-old Richard F. Kelly was followed from his home to the Jackpot Mart on Main and Yew streets, under surveillance because he’d been the target of so-called controlled buys of marijuana and meth, according to authorities. Police watched a man get into his vehicle and then watched the vehicle travel to Kentucky Fried Chicken where the man got out, and got into a black vehicle driven by a woman identified in court papers as Lori McNeal. Charging papers filed today state both vehicles were followed by law enforcement, with Kelly getting pulled over at the intersection of Summa and Kresky Avenue. Kelly allegedly allowed a search of his vehicle where the meth he had bought was located, according to the documents. Another officer stopped the black vehicle and arrested Conrad J. Perry, 32, of Centralia.  McNeal was also arrested but was released pending further investigation, according to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s office. Perry was charged today with delivery of methamphetamine and Kelly was charged with possession of meth with intent to deliver. When Perry appeared before a judge this afternoon, the judge was told Perry is currently in Lewis County Drug Court and working, but if he was kept in jail he’d likely lose his job. The judge order his bail set at $25,000. Kelly, who lives in Onalaska, is unemployed. His bail was set at $100,000 because he is also newly charged in a separate case involving an alleged incident of sexual contact with a child from back in 2013.

THEFT, THEFT, THEFT

• Chehalis police were called to the 1800 block of Northeast Kresky Avenue about 10:15 .m. yesterday regarding a possible burglary. Further details were not yet available today.

• Police were called to the 300 block of Courtland Street in Centralia yesterday morning about the theft of an engine hoist and an electric grinder.

• Centralia police responded about 11:50 a.m. yesterday yesterday to the 1300 block of Lum Road and subsequently arrested two individuals; Brian J. Olsen, 33, of Longview, was arrested for organized retail theft and possession of methamphetamine and heroin, according to the Centralia Police Department. William E. Leahy, 42 of Longview, was arrested or obstructing a police officer and resisting arrest., according to police. Both were booked into the Lewis County Jail.

• Centralia police were called about 10:20 a.m. yesterday about a vehicle prowl in which someone took a large red suitcase from the 800 block of Hamilton Road. Officers recovered it later in the day at a residence in the 800 block of South Pearl Street and returned it to the owner, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DRUGS

• Chehalis police were called to the home of a 19-year-old on Northeast Franklin Avenue about missing pain pills last night. Chase M. Onstot was subsequently arrested for possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, according to the Chehalis Police Department. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

UNFOUNDED COMPLAINT

• At 1:24 p.m. yesterday, police received a report complaining a man in a wheelchair was panhandling and masturbating at the onramp at milepost 77 of Interstate 5. The report was unfounded, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

COLLISION

• Centralia police took note about 3:35 p.m. yesterday that a bicyclist was involved in collision with a vehicle when he failed to yield the right of way to the vehicle and collided with the side of it. The bicyclist received minor injuries, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants,  driving with a suspended license; responses for alarm, hit and run, misdemeanor assault, misdemeanor theft, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street, dog alone in parked vehicle appearing in distress, small dog on sidewalk just barking at the air … and more.

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Authorities: Stay out of Winlock creek, avoid contaminated runoff from warehouse fire

Friday, August 21, 2015 at 2:05 pm
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Responder examines fish from Olequa Creek. / Courtesy photo by Department of Ecology

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Local officials yesterday joined state ecologists in warning residents not to swim or play in Olequa Creek after all species and sizes of fish, insects and other living organisms were killed for five miles downstream of Tuesday’s warehouse fire.

The early morning blaze in Winlock destroyed a 14,640-square-foot building. Runoff from the fire’s extinguishment that included cooking oil reached a storm drain, and seeped into Olequa Creek behind the building.

Olequa Creek is a tributary to the Cowlitz River.

Lewis County Public Health & Social Services cautions the public to stay out, at least to Ferrier Road and avoid any water with a visible sheen of oil.

Bill Teitzel, the department’s environmental services supervisor, indicated that local staff have inspected the area and will continue to monitor the situation.

Spill responders by Wednesday afternoon had already filled two 21,000 gallon tanks with oily waste water, according to the state Department of Ecology. The number of dead fish is most likely closer to thousands rather than hundreds, the state agency said.

The warehouse stored grocery products.

Authorities confirmed with the building’s owners they had recently received 1,124 gallons of vegetable and canola oil, according to the state agency. They also stored vegetable shortening.

DOE hired Cowlitz Clean Sweep from Longview to assist with the cleanup and both were on the scene on Tuesday. Seventeen personnel with at least seven response trucks were on site on Wednesday.

They are continuing today to recover oil from the creek, using absorbent pads and vacuum trucks and have utilized sand berms and other methods to keep more polluted water from entering the waterway as the fire’s extinguishment has been ongoing.

The creek itself is not a drinking water source, or, more specifically, Lewis County Public Health is not aware of any approved drinking water source from Olequa, according to Teitzel.

The state Department of Ecology identifies the warehouse as belonging to Olympic Trading Company. The building and the property are shown by the Lewis County Assessors Office as 915 N.W. Kerron St. and owned by Alternative Logistics LLC.

State authorities indicated the responsible party, the warehouse owner, is out of the country but has been cooperative.

Department of Ecology crews and cleanup contractors are expecting to keep working through the weekend and eventually move into a longer term passive cleanup program, according to Teitzel.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by Sgt. Sam Patrick of the Toledo Police Department.
•••

For background, read “Winlock fire reduces grocery product warehouse to charred frame” from Tuesday August 18, 2015, here

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Despite convictions, investigation still underway in death of 3-year-old Vader boy last year

Friday, August 21, 2015 at 10:43 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The criminal case of the 3-year-old boy who died while in the care of a Vader couple last autumn continues to drag on.

Danny and Brenda Wing, both 27, have pleaded guilty under an agreement in which they’ve promised to share information with authorities and undergo polygraph examinations.

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Jasper Henderling-Warner

Jasper Henderling-Warner died from what the coroner labeled chronic battered child syndrome last Oct. 5.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead back in May sought and was granted permission for sentencing to be held off, because, he said, the investigation was still ongoing.

In July, Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer revealed criminal charges could be filed against others. He didn’t rule out the little boy’s mother.

Brenda Wing was scheduled to be sentenced today in Lewis County Superior Court, but the hearing has been delayed. Danny Wing went before a judge last Friday when Halstead got a postponement for his sentencing.

Danny WIng’s lawyer opposed waiting, according to court documents.

Halstead last week said he is still waiting for unspecified things to happen in the case – including the polygraph tests – and it’s taking longer than he thought.

Each of the two have pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and third-degree child assault. They both face a standard sentencing range of between 146 months and 194 months in prison.

However, if they don’t hold up their end of the bargain, prosecutors indicate in court documents they could add so-called enhancements, leaving the Wings facing terms up to life.

Authorities have spoken about the little boy’s injuries, but nothing has been shared publicly about how he got them.

The formal statements of guilt don’t offer much insight, as Danny Wing said he recklessly caused Jasper’s death by failing to get medical care for the boy and Brenda Wing’s statement says she recklessly caused the death, as an accomplice.

Jasper’s  21-year-old mother had given the couple temporary custody last summer while she was homeless and looked for work out of state.

Currently, Danny Wing’s sentencing is on the court calendar for Sept. 11 and his wife’s is scheduled for Sept. 25.
•••

For background, read, “Prosecutor not ruling out other arrests in Vader toddler’s death” from Thursday July 2, 2015, here

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, August 20, 2015 at 7:19 pm
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Fire burns a half acre and three travel trailers. / Courtesy photo by West Thurston Regional Fire Authority

Updated

BRUSH FIRE DESTROYS ONE HOME

• Three travel trailers, including one which was someone’s home, were lost when a brush fire broke out north of Littlerock today. Nobody was injured, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority. Multiple agencies responded to the approximately 12:30 p.m. call to the 2900 block 85th Avenue, according to Lt. Lanette Dyer. The fast moving fire was made more difficult by shifting winds, dense vegetation, car bodies and building supplies on the property, Dyer indicated. It was confined to a half acre, she said.

GRASS NEXT TO FREEWAY CATCHES FIRE

• Chehalis firefighters were called about 9:30 a.m. yesterday to a “relatively” small grass fire in between the southbound onramp at Main Street and Interstate 5. Fire Capt. Ted McCarty said when they arrived, a crew with the Department of Transportation had a garden hose on it, from their truck. It was stopped at roughly 50 feet by 100 feet, McCarty said. He said he couldn’t say for sure what sparked the fire, but the area was littered with cigarette butts. The ticket for tossing a lit cigarette out of a vehicle is $1,025.

FRAUD

• Chehalis police were contacted by a person from Northeast Kresky Avenue yesterday who discovered someone using their account information to write bad checks. The case is under investigation, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

ZOOM, ZOOM

• A high-speed police pursuit down Interstate 5 ended with a wreck at Centralia and the arrest of two individuals last night near Mellen Street at around 11:40 p.m. The accident is being investigated by troopers and the pair were turned over to the Tacoma Police Department, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor assault, driving with a suspended license, allowing an unauthorized person to drive; responses for alarm, dispute, disorderly person, misdemeanor theft, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street, possible car prowler in a parking lot … and more.

•••

CORRECTION: This has been updated to reflect the fire in Littlerock happened today, not yesterday.

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Police detain two people after their car wrecks on Interstate 5. / Courtesy photo by Chandra Shilley

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Onalaska chicken farm and almost 200 acres consumed by wildfire

Thursday, August 20, 2015 at 11:31 am
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Chicken farm fire on the 200 block of Gore Road. / Courtesy photo by Rhonda Volk

Updated at 5:49 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The fire believed to have been sparked by a tractor-brush hog operating in a field in Onalaska destroyed a dozen chicken barns and burned 175 acres of property.

Crews are still on the scene this morning.

“Everything is black, burned, but nothing right now is causing any major hazard,” Lewis County Fire District 8 Chief Duran McDaniel said this morning.

It was reported shortly after 2 p.m. yesterday at the Neilson’s chicken farm on the 200 block of Gore Road.

Crews created what McDaniel called a wet line to protect the farm and also to keep fire from getting to an 18,000 gallon propane tank.

McDaniel and two of his firefighters were putting water down around the tank when flames about 25 feet tall rolled over the fire break towards them, he said. Some neighbors were in the area as well, he said.

“We left on foot,” McDaniel said. “There was probably six or seven of us that ran out of there.”

They left behind a 2,500 gallon fire engine-tender that was destroyed, he said.

McDaniel called for everyone – fire personnel and residents alike – to evacuate the area for at least a half mile away from the propane tank, and then enlarged the zone to a mile, he said.

“The size of it, if it blew, it would have launched itself about a mile,” he said.

McDaniel at that point requested help from every fire chief in Lewis County. Assistance came that included fire tenders from all or almost all departments in the county, as well as two from Thurston County and two from Cowlitz County, he said.

Firefighters with the state Department of Natural Resources responded as well, he said.

The firefighting effort couldn’t continue until after a DNR helicopter was able to observe that the only thing still left burning near the tank was the fire truck, he said.

Homes in the area of the fire have Onalaska addresses, but are protected by the Lewis County Fire District 8, based in Salkum.

The farmer’s house was saved as was a neighbor’s barn and several other structures, according to McDaniel.

But 12 large chicken buildings were lost; eight of them occupied by poultry, he said.

Nobody was injured, but two firefighters became overheated, he said.

Critical fire weather conditions are expected to continue through the weekend, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.

DNR is warning the public to take every available precaution to protect themselves during what they call emergency conditions.

All available resources, both statewide and nationally, are already deployed fighting wildfires across the American West, according to Carrie McCausland, DNR’s deputy director of communications.

More than 1,000 firefighters are battling 10 large wildfires on the other side of the mountains, where more than 120,000 acres have burned.

Three U.S. Forest Service firefighters were killed yesterday fighting fires in Okanogan County, and other federal and state wildland firefighters were burned or injured.

McCausland urges members of the public to take any evacuation order or emergency direction with the utmost seriousness.

Most firefighting agencies have, by necessity, adopted a defensive posture to contain the already overwhelming spread of wildfires, she stated in a news release this morning.

A fire that broke out a week and a half ago south of Gish Road in Onalaska scorched 102 acres of private property and at one point had about 170 personnel assigned to it.

On Aug. 5, approximately 50 DNR firefighters were working about four miles north of the Gish Road fire to extinguish 18 acres of burning brush and trees off Centralia-Alpha Road.

After District 8′s call for assistance yesterday, the Chehalis Fire Department was put on standby to answer any other calls as far away as Mossyrock, wherever they might be needed.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Cmdr. Dusty Breen said deputies provided traffic control and helped with evacuations.

Breen said it appeared the fire originated with the tractor-brush hog, but they are conducting an investigation.

U.S. Highway 12 was closed at Leonard Road in Ethel, and then expanded to reach from Jackson Highway at Mary’s Corner to Fuller Road in Salkum.

Gore Road was shut down at Fred Plant Road on the east end to Leonard Road at the west end; and Leonard’s closure extended north to Gish Road.

The Lewis County 911 center put out reverse 911 calls to advise residents in the area to evacuate beginning just after 3 p.m. and ending at 7:45 p.m. The Code Red emergency alert warning system is available to those who register their phone numbers with it.

McDaniel said it wasn’t until about 11 p.m. they felt like the fire was under control enough to wrap up for the night.

DNR is estimating the fire is 50 to 60 percent contained this morning.

District 8′s fire engine-tender that burned is worth about $350,000, according to McDaniel.
•••

For background, read “Breaking news: Large fire prompts evacuations near Ethel” from Wednesday August 19, 2015, here

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Deputies and firefighters knocked on doors for an evacuation of one mile in every direction after fire rolled over an 18,000 gallon propane tank. / Courtesy photo by John Cleveland

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News brief: Brush fire in East Lewis County getting “mop up”

Thursday, August 20, 2015 at 9:53 am
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Tammy Sizemore snapped this photo along Falls Road about 6:30 p.m. / Courtesy photo

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

About a dozen members of two fire departments responded yesterday evening to a wildfire south of U.S. Highway 12 in between Randle and Glenoma.

“It was nothing too big, compared with what else was going on,” Lewis County Fire DIstrict 14 Chief Jeff Jaques said this morning. “One and half acres, unknown cause at this point, on DNR-protected land.”

It was near milepost four off Falls Road, on property that had been logged a year or maybe two years ago, Jaques said.

The fire was under control fairly quickly and a crew stayed on till about 9:30 doing “mop up,” the chief said.

They also kept someone on fire watch there during the night, and will be back this morning to finish up, he said.

“And then we’ll continue to monitor it,” Jaques said.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at 9:57 pm
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•••

CANNABIS CANDY FOR KIDS

• Centralia police responded to a report just after 11 p.m. yesterday of a 17-year-old boy allegedly handing out marijuana-laced candy to juveniles in his neighborhood. The case is associated with an address on the 1000 block of Scammon Creek Road. Police say that when confronted, the boy’s mother refused to allow him to talk with police.

AUTO THEFT IN MINIATURE

• Someone stole a battery-operated child’s car from a yard on the 100 block of Collar Avenue in Morton last week, but the vehicle was recovered the following day at the 100 block of Wood Avenue, according to the Morton Police Department. It was damaged and its battery had been removed, according to police.

NOT VEHICLE THEFT

• Chehalis police were called about 11:40 a.m. on Monday about the theft of a motorized pedal bike from Southeast Washington Avenue, but shortly after were called back and told the person repairing it had taken it for a test drive.

HOMELESS PERSON STEALS $20 WORTH MATERIAL FROM EMPTY BARN

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported yesterday a 29-year-old was arrested the day before for allegedly stripping approximately $20 worth of wiring from a vacant barn on the 200 block of North Military Road in Winlock. A deputy notified at mid-day a woman with a warrant was seen entering the barn subsequently found her hitchhiking, according to the sheriff’s office. The wiring was found on her person and Joanna M. Withrow, described as transient, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for her warrant and for second-degree burglary, Cmdr. Dusty Breen said.

FRAUD

• Centralia police were called about 11:10 a.m. on Monday to the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue regarding the unauthorized use of a debit card.

CAR PROWL

• Police were called about 3:30 p.m. yesterday about a car inside a garage that was prowled on the 2600 block of Howard Avenue in Centralia.

• Chehalis police were called about 12:45 p.m. yesterday to the 1500 block of Southwest Johnson Avenue where they were told someone opened the door of an unlocked vehicle overnight and took change out of the ashtray.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police took a report yesterday evening from an individual at the 900 block of South Pearl Street who said someone had poured sugar in their gas tank overnight.

AND FROM MORTON

• Morton police last Thursday received a report of someone puncturing car tires in the 400 block of Main Avenue, and also along the 100 block of Jastad Drive earlier in the week. The incidents are under investigation, according to the Morton Police Department.

• Police said yesterday they are investigating a suspicious fire, originating at the rear of an apartment complex on the 100 block of Engle Drive in Mossyrock. It was reported about 8 p.m. last Thursday. Nobody was hurt and the damage was limited to the outside of the building, according to Police Chief Dan Mortensen.

WRECK

• A 20-year-old Oakville woman was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital after her car hit a culvert, went airborne and rolled early yesterday morning.  Troopers responding about 6:20 a.m. to the 400 block of Howanut Road on the Chehalis Reservation found the 2014 Chevrolet Sonic was totaled, according to the Washington State Patrol. The driver, Jordan D. Merriman, had been wearing a seat belt, the investigating trooper reports.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor theft, driving with a suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, misdemeanor assault, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street theft of items out of a boat that turned out to have just been misplaced … and more.

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News brief: Toledo home burns

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at 9:52 pm
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Smoke rises from Toledo residence. / Courtesy photo by Stormie McKenzie

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Firefighters called yesterday afternoon to a house fire in Toledo spent about four hours extinguishing it, according to Lewis County Fire District 2 Chief Dave Germain.

“It was a lot of fire, it was a real stubborn fire,” Germain said.

One teenage boy was home at the time but got out safely, and nobody was injured, he said.

Germain said the lower level of the residence on the 500 block of Washington Street was pretty much saved, albeit with a lot of water damage.

“The upper story is pretty well gone,” he said.

A fire investigator was looking into its cause, he said.

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Breaking news: Large fire prompts evacuations near Ethel

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at 4:16 pm
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Looking north towards Ethel from near the Cowlitz River. / Courtesy photo

Updated at 7:56 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Evacuations are underway in a one-mile wide area around a several-acre fire burning in Lewis County.

U.S. Highway 12 is closed at Leonard Road in Ethel.

The fire is just north of there, at the 200 block of Gore Road.

Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza had a post made on the sheriff’s office Facebook page at 3:31 p.m. today, making the announcement.

He asks that citizens stay out of the area and to please evacuate, if needed.

The following roads have been closed:
• U.S. Highway 12 from Jackson Highway to Fuller Road.
• Leonard Road at Gish Road
• Leonard Road at U.S. Highway 12
• Gore Rd at Fred Plant Road

The sheriff’s brief message made mention that it’s not confirmed if a propane tank is actually pierced. The state Department of Natural Resources reported just before 4 p.m. that structures were threatened.

A large smoke column was visible just before 3 p.m. from more than five miles to the south.

Ethel is roughly eight miles east of Interstate 5.

Homes in the area of the fire have Onalaska addresses, but are protected by the Salkum Fire Department.

A Code Red reverse 911 call was sent out beginning at  3:05 p.m. today, to those who have previously signed up for the service.

It read: “Fire District 8 Chief is advising everyone in the area between Leonard Road and Kennedy Road and between highway 12 and Gore Road to evacuate due to a fire and hazardous conditions. Information about when it is safe to return will be available at 360-740-1152.

The state Department of Transportation advised at 5:27 p.m.: “For the safety of the traveling public, U.S. Highway 12 is closed between Jackson Highway and Fuller Road in Salkum due to the Gore Road Fire. Eastbound traffic is being detoured north to Jackson Highway then to state Route 508. Westbound traffic is to state Route 122 to Cinebar Road to state Route 508. Updates will be posted to the WSDOT Blog.”

However, DOT advised at 5:37 p.m. U.S. Highway 12 is now back opened.

Lewis County Fire District 8 advised at 7:45 p.m. that it is now safe for all residences evacuated from the Gore Road area to return home.

Steve Mansfield, who oversees the Lewis County Department of Emergency Management, said it appears fire crews will be out there for the rest of the evening, at least.

Further details to come.

 

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News brief: Logs spill at Grand Mound intersection

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at 8:36 am
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Looking south from U.S. Highway 12 in Grand Mound. / Courtesy photo by Thurston County Sheriff’s Office

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Southbound Old Highway 99 in Grand Mound is blocked this morning after a log truck lost its load in front of the AM/PM.

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office tweeted at about about 7:50 a.m. there were no injuries in the rollover accident, just south of U.S. Highway 12.

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Winlock fire reduces grocery product warehouse to charred frame

Tuesday, August 18, 2015 at 7:41 pm
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Fire breaks out at Winlock warehouse. / Courtesy photo by Desiree Bowers

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

WINLOCK – Twelve hours after fire tore through a warehouse just up the street from the world’s largest egg in Winlock, smoke still rose from the sprawling pile of the building’s remains.

“We still have pockets of active flames,” Lewis County Fire District 15 Assistant Chief Kevin Anderson said.

An excavator was working through the debris so firefighters could continue to extinguish it.

The wood-framed, metal-sided structure stood on the west side of Northwest Kerron Street, just south of Laurel Street.

A similarly large warehouse to its south and two-story house to its north appeared untouched.

Anderson said firefighters arriving after the approximately 2:30 a.m. call found heavy smoke outside and flames visible from the north side of the building, coming out of a rollup door he believed had “failed”.

They were joined by crews from Vader, Toledo, Napavine and rural Chehalis, as well as the ladder truck from the Chehalis Fire Department.

It was an exterior attack, nobody was hurt, he said. The initial knockdown took well over an hour.

“I believe the business was, they were kind of like the middle man, selling materials to some of the liquidator stores,” Anderson said. “Mostly food items.”

It was filled with everything from ketchup and mustard to laundry detergent; pallets and pallets full of grocery products, plus plastic wrapping and packing materials, fire investigator Sam Patrick said.

“So your fire load was huge,” Patrick said.

Anderson said he didn’t know when people were last in the building, as the owners are away on vacation.

Patricia and Michael Parish, who reside in the Winlock area are out of the country, but had been contacted, according to Patrick.

Information from the Lewis County Assessors Office shows the 14,640-square-foot warehouse was built in 1968. It was labeled in fair condition. The assessed value is $220,000.

The building and the property – just shy of one acre – are listed as owned by Alternative Logistics LLC.

Among the rubble was a for-sale sign. Toledo Police Chief John Brockmueller said the property had been on the market off and on for three years or so.

Some of the run off from fire hoses reached a storm drain, and cooking oil seeped into Olequa Creek behind the building, according to personnel on the scene from the state Department of Ecology.

Spill Responder Ben Cornell said they had various ways of cleaning up what they could, including vacuuming oils from the water’s surface.

Brockmueller was there, as the city of Winlock recently contracted with Toledo for police services. Patrick is Sgt. Patrick with the Toledo Police Department. He also sits on the Winlock City Council.

Patrick said he expected it could be a couple of days before he could get in and start searching for the cause.

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Firefighters continue putting out hot spots today at Northwest Kerron Street.

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Smoke rises from the remains of pallets of grocery items after warehouse burns in Winlock.