Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

News brief: House fire in Curtis caught early

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Boistfort Valley home caught fire late yesterday afternoon, but a neighbor alerting the resident to smoke and the resident putting a garden hose on it kept it from spreading.

Firefighters called just before 5 p.m. to the one-story house on the 100 block of Moon Hill Road found damage beneath an enclosed porch built onto the back of the house, according to Lewis County Fire District 13.

“So it looks like it started on the outside of the residence,” Fire Chief Gwen Turner said. “Not sure what combusted, but something combusted on the outside.”

Turner said smoke got into the interior, but the room itself never caught fire. She suspected the room would have to be completely re-done.

“It’s a very good thing they were home,” she said.

Ten firefighters responded.

Firefighters find smoldering rags in downtown Chehalis bar

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – It turned out to be a neatly folded stack of recently laundered towels on a shelf.

That could have burned up a popular Chehalis night spot, if not for the fact that someone smelled something not quite right before the business closed.

It was about midnight last night when someone from Sabra’s Place walked around the corner to the Chehalis Fire Station and said there was a strange odor inside the restaurant.

The crew went into the building on the 300 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue and looked around. The air conditioner was checked, the area was searched and finally, the source was located, Fire Investigator Ted McCarty said

It was coming from a stack of towels in a cabinet, McCarty said. They were just slightly smoking.

Fire Investigator Derrick Paul related to McCarty that he took them outside, laid them out and found heavy charring in the middle.

“So, they were actually spontaneously combusting,” McCarty said.

Paul asked if they’d been used previously to clean up anything oily or chemicals. He was told yes, but they’d been washed since, he was told.

Most people know that oily rags left laying around can ignite, but firefighters know that even after they are laundered, they are still risky, according to McCarty. They should be stored in something metal with a lid on it, he said.

“In this case, luckily they smelled something,” he said. “Otherwise, we’d have had a big fire.”

Read about Winlock’s police chief’s next move in ‘retirement’ …

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter


Terry Williams

The (Longview) Daily News reports that longtime Winlock Police Chief Terry Williams has taken a job with a private company that provides monitoring for at-home detention.

Williams, 57, who retired yesterday, told Daily News reporter Brooks Johnson he disagrees with the city’s recent decision to close the department and contract for outside law enforcement services, from the city of Toledo.

Johnson writes Williams’ law enforcement career began in 1979.

Read more about it here

News brief: Local firefighting teams join Wenatchee crews

Monday, June 29th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Two firefighters from the Napavine area fire department are among those who headed east overnight to assist with the wildfire at Wenatchee.

Newaukum Valley Fire and Rescue sent them on a brush truck.

The blaze, named the Sleepy Hollow Fire, began around 2:30 p.m. yesterday, grew to 300 acres by 9 o’clock last night and by this morning had grown to 3,000 acres, destroying multiple structures, according to authorities.

At least one group of three firefighters from South Thurston County deployed to the fire as well. Tina Vanderhoof, administrative chief for Thurston County Fire District 12 in Tenino said the group included one from Tenino, the chief of Thurston County Fire District 16 in Gibson Valley and one other person.

The State Emergency Operations Center at Camp Murray was activated to coordinate state assistance.

The Wenatchee World reported this evening 28 homes have burned and the fast-moving fire sent out embers that ignited commercial buildings.

An estimated 200 firefighters were rotating on and off today, according to news reporter Dee Riggs.

Read more about the fire here. shared raw video

Centralia: Suspect in armed robbery at large

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A male was robbed at gunpoint inside a vehicle by a person with him yesterday evening, leading to a short police pursuit that began in the area of Harrison Avenue and Johnson Road in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Officers responding at 6:53 p.m. to the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue, just west of Interstate 5, report the suspect took money from the victim.

The suspect is described only as a person known to the victim.

Police located the vehicle, which refused to yield, according to a brief summary of the incident from the department.

The pursuit was terminated by police for public safety
concerns, according to police.

Centralia officers have positively identified the suspect, and recovered the vehicle in Olympia, according to the summary.

Further details were not readily available. The investigation continues, according to police.

Read about Winlock shutting down police department …

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News reports the retirement of Winlock Police Chief Terry Williams this summer will be followed by the city contracting with Toledo for law enforcement services.

News reporter Marissa Luck writes the divided city council voted to dissolve the police department and pay Toledo $196,000 for 20 hours a day of patrolling, rejecting a $250,000 proposed contract from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Read about it here

Chehalis high school to host memorial for fallen officer

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A line-of-duty death memorial service for Chehalis Police Department Officer Rick Silva will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, and is open to the public.


Officer Rick Silva

Silva, with more than a quarter century of law enforcement service behind him, died Thursday of complications following surgery to repair an on-the-job hip injury.

“Rick’s family would like to extend their deepest gratitude to the community for the outpouring of love and support they have felt over the past week.” Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Stacy Brown stated in the announcement today.

Brown stepped in to assist with public information officer responsibilities for the Chehalis Police Department.

Silva, 61, worked at the sheriff’s office before moving to the Chehalis Police Department in 2002.

On Friday, a police procession will depart from the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds on North National Avenue at approximately 9 a.m. and travel to W.F.West High School where the service is to be held.

A public reception will follow immediately afterward in the commons area of the high school.  W.F. West is located at 342 SW 16th Street, Chehalis.

For background, read “Chehalis police mourn loss of veteran officer” from Friday June 19, 2015, here

News brief: More limitations put into place to prevent wildfires

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Worries about fire danger have prompted a timber company to close their properties to the public as well as caused an expansion of last week’s burn ban on state-protected lands in Eastern Washington to now cover the west side of the mountains.

Both announcements were issued today.

The majority of Port Blakely Tree Farms property in Lewis County is in the Morton area.

Their closure applies to foot, horse, motorized and any other form of access, according to a company spokesperson.

“With the recent weather so warm and dry, and even higher temperatures expected in the coming days, we are doing what we can to keep our forestlands safe,” Teresa Loo stated. “As soon as the fire danger subsides, we will re-open our lands for public access.”

The state Department of Natural Resources reports westside forests are drying out so outdoor burning is now prohibited in state forests, state parks and other property protected by DNR, with the exception of recreational fires in approved fire pits within designated state, county, municipal and other campgrounds.

Fireworks and incendiary devices, such as exploding targets, sky lanterns, or tracer ammunition, are illegal on all DNR-protected property, according to DNR.

Last week, outdoor burning restrictions were put into place in unincorporated Lewis County.

News brief: Free safety inspections for boaters coming soon

Friday, June 19th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Free boating safety inspections can be had at the Mayfield Lake Park on the last Saturday of this month.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office will be partnering with Tacoma City Power on June 27 for an event with a goal in part of raising awareness of the dangers of boating under the influence and removing impaired operators from the waterways, according to the sheriff’s office.

“Lewis County is a beautiful place, with great waterways,” Snaza stated. “We encourage locals and visitors to have fun on the water, however; we expect people to follow the laws and do so safely.”

Between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the park, safety displays will be set up with handouts and activity books for children.

It’s part of something called Operation Dry Water, a national outreach and enforcement campaign.

Sheriff’s deputies will be on water patrol that day as well as throughout the summer, looking for impaired boaters, according to Snaza.

The sheriff’s office also reminds adults to keep a close eye on children around water and utilize approved life jackets to avoid preventable drownings.

News brief: Dry conditions lead to burn ban

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Outdoor burning restrictions go into place tomorrow for all of unincorporated Lewis County because of substantial fire danger, given the weather conditions and extended forecast.

The only outdoor fires allowed will be campfires in designated campgrounds or in fire pits on private property that meet specific criteria, according to Lewis County Community Development Director Lee Napier, acting as fire marshal.

The ban begins at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow.

Anyone with a current winter open burning permit that was to expire on June 30 needs to take note of the change.

The restrictions will remain in effect until lifted by the county Board of Commissioners.

The board has authority over areas in Lewis County that are outside any city limits and not part of any state or federal lands.

For specifications on acceptable fire pits, check the Lewis County Community Development Department’s web page.

For further information concerning outdoor burning, Napier can be reached at 360-740-1146. The fire marshal’s office is in the Lewis County Public Services building, located at 2025 NE Kresky Avenue in Chehalis.

News brief: Poultry-warming lamp ignited Onalaska house fire

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The fire that consumed an Onalaska family’s home is being blamed on a heat lamp that was keeping baby chicks warm.

Fire Investigator Ted McCarty said it wasn’t necessarily that it got knocked over.

“It had been on for a month and probably dried out the sawdust, which got hot and ignited,” McCarty said.

One of the residents was cooking breakfast when she smelled smoke, looked all around the house and couldn’t find anything, according to McCarty. Until she opened the back door and saw the shed burning, he said.

Firefighters responding about 8 a.m. on Sunday to the 600 block of Middle Fork Road found the manufactured home fully engulfed in flames.

She grabbed their dogs and got outside and two of their kittens were found alive, but others plus the chicks perished.

Lewis County Fire District 1 Assistant Chief Rhonda Volk said the couple lived there with their niece who is in her 20s.

They didn’t have any insurance, McCarty said.

News brief: One hurt in weekend wrecks

Monday, June 15th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A motorcyclist was airlifted after he collided with a deer yesterday morning south of Rochester, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority.

Firefighters called about 9 a.m. to Prather Road near Lundeen Road found the man was initially unconscious but then he slowly began to come to, according to Fire Chief Robert Scott.

“He was wearing a helmet though, which is good,” Scott said. “It probably saved his life.”

A helicopter met them and the patient at Rochester High School to transport him to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Scott said. He said the vicim was a local person and probably in his 30s or 40s.

The deer didn’t make it, Scott said.

On Saturday morning, it was a wooden porch that took a hit when a motorist on Southwest Cascade Avenue near Main Street in Chehalis left the roadway, crossed the sidewalk and came to rest in front of a home.

There was significant damage to the porch and damage to the front end of his car, but 20-year-old Justin A. Deel of Rochester was unhurt, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

He was cited for driving with a suspended license and without insurance, according to police.

And about 1:30 a.m. today, the front end of a car was “pretty smashed up” and the concrete center barrier shoved into the oncoming lane following a single-vehicle collision on Interstate 5 in Chehalis, according to the Chehalis Fire Department.

The driver was northbound and wrecked near the Main Street interchange. Nobody was transported to the hospital, Fire Capt. Rob Gebhart said.

“It sounds like the driver fell asleep,” he said.

Buying from online stranger? Meet near the sheriff’s office

Friday, June 12th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Got a wad of cash in your pocket for that used car you found on Craigslist? A bit nervous about doing business with someone you only know from an Internet ad?

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office is welcoming the public into the lobby of the Lewis County Law and Justice Center, suggesting it’s a good place for those who buy and sell items online to meet up with each other.

“Online selling and buying on Craigslist, Facebook, and other sites has become increasingly popular and with that comes risks,” Chief Deputy Stacy Brown states in a news release. “Robberies, thefts, and even deaths in some cases, have resulted from people meeting strangers to sell or buy an item advertised online.”

They’ve dubbed the front lobby on the first floor as a Neutral Exchange Zone.

“We hope this program helps to address unsafe situation(s) or deter crimes from occurring during the exchange of an item,” Sheriff Rob Snaza stated. “If someone refuses to meet in a public place or a neutral zone, that should be cause for concern with continuing a transaction.”

The sheriff’s office reminds the public that no weapons are allowed inside the building.

Exchanges can only be made there during business hours when the building is open. That’s 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Lewis County Law and Justice Center is located at 345 W. Main Street in Chehalis.

Brown says no personal services may be traded there.

News brief: Training fire to be conducted southwest of Chehalis

Friday, June 12th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Chehalis area residents can expect to see smoke beginning at  9 a.m. tomorrow, as firefighters burn down a house.

Lewis County Fire District 6 is using the donated structure on the 200 block of Devereese Road to get some practice in, according to Chief Tim Kinder.

They should be finished at about noon, he said.

News brief: Police investigating death of little boy in Centralia

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015


By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia police are investigating the death of a 9-year-old boy this morning.

Detective Patti Finch said officers were dispatched at approximately 10:22 a.m. to a home on the 300 block of North Diamond Street regarding the child who was found unresponsive in bed by his mother.

Officers arrived to find CPR in progress, according to Finch. Members of the fire department were summoned at the same time.

The child was transported to the Providence Centralia Hospital in critical condition where he was pronounced dead a short time later, according to responders.

Finch indicated the boy had a recent medical procedure, but didn’t elaborate on what that was.

An autopsy will be performed on Thursday.

Nothing obvious at the scene suggested foul play, but anytime a child dies unexpectedly, police will get involved and investigate the circumstances, she said.

Read about Rochester man may not recover from I-5 construction area collision …

Monday, June 8th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

KIRO Radio reports a $20 million claim has been filed against the state Department of Transportation and its contractor Scarsella Brothers following an April incident in which a Rochester motorcyclist slammed into a dump truck at the Harrison Avenue freeway onramp in Centralia.

Scott R. Bliss, 44, of Rochester, was thrown from his Harley Davidson, and flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle on the morning of April 17, the state patrol reported at the time.

Reporter Sara Lerner writes the attorney for his longtime partner Cheryl Alton contends the truck driver was making an illegal U-turn near the Interstate 5 construction area and Bliss’s diagnosis of major brain damage has left him with less than a 10 percent chance of recovering.

Wesley G. Snelson, 61, from Galvin, was the driver of the 2004 Mack dump truck and was reportedly unhurt, according to the state patrol.

Read more here

For background, read “News brief: I-5 construction area crash sends one to Harborview” from Friday April 17, 2015, here

News brief: Dog mauling leads to two pit bulls shot on Mandy Road

Monday, June 8th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Another incident with a dog fight and a shot gun in Toledo is highlighting the importance of people keeping their animals on their own property, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Two dogs were shot early Thursday morning after they attacked another dog on the dog’s property on the 600 block of Mandy Road, according to the sheriff’s office.

The victim German shepherd was taken to a veterinary hospital in critical condition with bites and cuts all over its body, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said on Friday morning.

Brown gave the following account of what took place:

A 29-year-old Toledo man heard growling in his front yard and discovered two of his neighbor’s pit bulls had his pet pinned to the ground, with one biting its neck and the other latched onto its hindquarter.

When his shouting didn’t stop the attack, he retrieved his shotgun. He fired a warning shot.

He shot one dog, which got it to let go and run away. He shot the other dog which had the same effect.

The 29-year-old followed to make sure they headed home, and when one of them came towards him, he shot it again, killing it.

Brown said the German shepherd owner’s actions were found to be justified under the cricumstances, as he was protecting his pet on his own property.

The pit bulls had left their property after the owner’s son accidentally a gate open, she said.

No humans were injured.

The German shepherd’s owner didn’t want the 39-year-old owner of the pit bulls cited for his dogs’ actions, according to Brown.

It was just four days earlier when a dog owner on Herriford Road shot a neighbor’s mastiff which came into his yard and tangled with his German shepherd. Both pets in that case survived.

For background, read “Toledo dog fight, shooting bring anger, sorrow and fear” from Sunday June 7, 2015, here

News brief: Firefighters to conduct ladder practice at city’s tallest building

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

St. Helens Apartments, 440 N Market Blvd, Chehalis / Image from Lewis County

Updated at 8:40 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The downtown Chehalis stretch of North Market Boulevard that runs by the St. Helens Apartments will be closed this morning as crews bring out their ladder trucks and engage in hands-on pre-planning for how they would fight a fire there.

The tallest building in town is six stories high, with a basement, and is home to scores of people, according to the Chehalis Fire Department. All of its 54 units are occupied, Firefighter-Investigator Derrick Paul said.

The on-scene practice is something they do for complex and potentially dangerous structures, Paul said.

“We haven’t done the St. Helens in probably 10 years,” he said.

The Chehalis Fire Department and Riverside Fire Authority will both bring out their ladder trucks, to see just how high the ladders reach and to scope out the best places to park them for a fire, Paul said.

Members of Lewis County Fire District 6 will be joining them as well, he said.

They expect to begin about 9 a.m. and hope to be done around 11 a.m.

The entire 400 block of North Market Boulevard will be shut down. One block of Cascade Avenue that runs behind the apartments will be closed too, although one lane is expected to remain open, according to Paul.

The masonry wall with wood beam constructed building  dates back to 1900, according to Paul. The individual apartments don’t have fire sprinklers, but there are a couple on each level in common areas, he said.

Paul said that over the years, they’ve responded to several fires there, but fortunately the fire station is close and all have ended up being “room and contents” fires, getting extinguished before spreading.


Courtesy photo by Chehalis Fire Department.