Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

Upper level of Chehalis home burns, cause unknown

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Neighbors watched as firefighters battled a house fire on Saturday afternoon in Chehalis. / Courtesy photo by Teresa Steffens

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The top floor of a Chehalis home was destroyed by fire on Saturday, but no one was hurt.

The cause remains under investigation.

Firefighters called just before 3 p.m. found fire coming out windows and the roof ridge vent of the house on the 700 block of Southwest Chehalis Avenue, according to the Chehalis Fire Department.

“About an hour before, he was upstairs putting up dry wall and was taking a break on the front porch reading a book,” Firefighter-investigator Jay Birley said.

“The cause? I got no idea,” Birley said.

It wasn’t safe to go into the area where he thinks it might have began, Birley said, as he could fall through the floor.

Chehalis firefighters were assisted by crews from Centralia and Lewis County Fire District 6. Riverside Fire Authority Chief Jim Walkowski took over as incident commander as Chehalis’s fire chief as not in town, according to Birley.

While the upstairs was destroyed, a lot of the belongings of the the couple who lives there with a baby were saved, according to Birley.

“They got a lot of their stuff out, it was wet,” he said.


Firefighters put water and foam onto a burning Chehalis Avenue house. / Photo by Branden Willson

Read about Littlerock man shot by officers is identified as former corrections officer …

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports the 70-year-old man who died after an exchange of gunfire with police at his Littlerock home yesterday is identified as David W. Mack, a retired corrections officers at the Cedar Creek Corrections Center

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes that Lewis County Sheriff’s Office detective Dan Riordan is among the investigators looking into the shooting.

Read about it here.

News brief: Brush fires add to smoke in area

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

One acre in Rochester is scorched / Courtesy photo by West Thurston Regional Fire Authority

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Crews from three fire departments were joined by wildland firefighters from the state Department of Natural Resources at a 3:30 p.m. brush fire in Rochester yesterday.

Lt. Lanette Dyer of West Thurston Regional Fire Authority reports one acre burned on the unimproved property along 180th Way Southwest near Albany Place.

A nearby homeowner called 911 after seeing smoke and observing five young people fleeing the scene, Dyer said in a news release.

The wind-driven flames were quickly contained, according to Dyer. A small shed was saved, she said.

DNR brought in a 10-person crew from Cedar Creek Corrections Center near Littlerock to mop up, she stated.

The fire was suspicious and was turned over to DNR and the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office to investigate its origins, according to Dyer.

The blaze came about the same time residents from Centralia to Napavine were reporting haze and smoke over the area that local fire officials attributed to the large wild fire burning in Cle Elum, east of the mountains.

Later in the evening, at least one Lewis County fire crew joined firefighters north of Castle Rock where a five-acre brush fire ignited, according to The (Longview) Daily News.

News brief: Winds carrying Cle Elum smoke west

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Local fire authorities have searched by land and plane for the source of smoke over the area, from northern Centralia to parts farther south this afternoon.

Current weather conditions suggest it’s residual smoke carried by wind from the northeast wildfires in Cle Elum, according to Riverside Fire Authority Assistant Chief Mike Kytta.

Kytta said they received numerous reports and one of the department’s volunteers finally took to the skies.

As of 6:30 p.m., there was no defined smoke column rising in the  area, according to Kytta.

Lewis County Fire District 5 spokesperson Lt. Laura Hanson noted personnel checked several areas in response to calls from residents. No ground fires were found, according to Hanson.

Kytta cautions however, the situation could certainly change very quickly, so he asks anyone who see flames or a defined column of smoke to call 911.

Please don’t assume a report has been made by someone else, Kytta asks.

News brief: Chill with city employees in Centralia

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

With temperatures forecast in Centralia for the mid to high 90s tomorrow and Thursday, the city is inviting folks without air conditioning to hang out in the city council chambers.

Individuals are welcome to spend time in a temperature controlled environment between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on those two days, according to Centralia Police Chief Bob Berg. Water will be available.

It could reach 98 degrees tomorrow, according to the National Weather Service.

Authorities advise heat illnesses are possible, so people should stay out of the sun, drink plenty of water, wear a hat and use sunscreen. The weather service suggests it’s a good idea to check up on relatives and neighbors.

Centralia City Hall is located at 118 W. Maple St.

Children younger than 12 must be accompanied and supervised.

Additionally, a red flag warning is in place for much of Western Washington including the Southwest Interior, because the combination of high heat, low humidity and strong winds will create the potential for explosive fire growth.

Breaking news: Fire breaks out in Centralia home

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Updated at 10:33 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A young woman and her mother safely escaped their Centralia home this morning when fire broke out in an upstairs bedroom.

Firefighters called just after 6 a.m. to the 1000 block of South Tower Avenue found smoke coming from a window and took their hose upstairs.

It started where multiple devices including an air conditioner were plugged into power strips and extension cords, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

“The air conditioning unit was a 110 model, I’m gonna guess that overloaded the circuit,” Fire Capt. Greg Schwartz said.

The young woman awoke to the sound of popping and cracking; there were not smoke detectors in the house, he said. She was checked at the scene for possible smoke inhalation.

“Luckily, she was a light sleeper,” he said.

The fire was confined to items on the floor, the floor itself and the corner of a bed, Schwartz said.

News brief: Local crews helping with huge Cle Elum wildfire

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Courtesy photo by West Thurston Regional Fire Authority

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Local firefighters from Napavine, Morton and Rochester have joined crews battling a wildfire near Cle Elum that has reportedly claimed 60 homes and more than 26,000 acres.

The wildfire that started about 1:20 p.m. yesterday is burning in sage and timber, according to the state fire marshal’s office.

Lewis County District 5 spokesperson Megan Van Egdom reports three personnel from the Napavine area department took a brush truck and a water tender when they headed east last night.

West Thurston Regional Fire Authority based in Rochester and Littlerock sent five people to assist, according to Chief Robert Scott.

A team from his department just returned after four days working a wildfire in Chelan County that ignited last weekend, Scott said.

The chief said he wants to assure local residents that even though he is sending people and apparatus out of the area, he still has resources in place here to protect the public.

The Seattle Times this morning reported some 600 firefighters are expected to be on the scene today of the fast moving fire that has prompted evacuations of more than 450 people.

It is located about six miles east of Cle Elum on state Route 10, Deputy State Fire Marshal Ed Borgatti said in a news release last night.

The fire is human caused, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.

Breaking news: Home made explosive found on Winlock roadway

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Updated at 10:13 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Deputies are in Winlock awaiting the arrival of a bomb squad after an improvised explosive device was found this morning laying on a roadway.

A motorcyclist called 911 about 7:15 a.m. after he spotted the cardboard tube with a burned fuse on the 100 block of Fisher Road, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

It is laying in the southbound lane and not near any homes, only a cattle field, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said, so no evacuations were necessary.

She described it as six inches long and two inches in diameter with epoxy caps and screws through the cardboard.

Update: Washington State Patrol bomb technicians detonated the device about 9:30 a.m.

More to come

News brief: Burn ban begins because of fire danger

Monday, August 13th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Substantial fire danger due to hot, dry weather prompted a burn ban that went into effect today in Lewis County.

Outdoor burning is prohibited except for recreational fires in approved receptacles, according to Lewis County Fire Marshal Fred Chapman.

The restrictions will remain in effect until further notice, according to Chapman.

Open burning is restricted in Thurston County as well.

Restrictions increased today for lands of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

News brief: Teen hikes five miles to get help for grandfather

Monday, August 13th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 64-year-old Mineral man was rescued after he was injured when he was thrown from his mule and his 14-year-old grandson hiked out to get help on Saturday outside of Packwood.

The sheriff’s office said the man was hurt on Friday at the northwest corner of Jug Lake and was unable to stand stand or get back on his mule. He was with his grandsons ages 9 and 14, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

The teenager hiked out about five miles the following morning to call for help, Brown said.

The man was airlifted to Tacoma General Hospital with potential injuries to his ribs and pelvis, according to Brown.

News brief: Bothell resident drowns in Ohanapecosh River

Monday, August 13th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Bothell man drowned in East Lewis County after getting pinned down in a river between large logs and rocks.

Michael Lloyd Barrett, 41, was rescued by a group of kayakers who assisted Barrett’s fellow campers, but was pronounced dead at Morton General Hospital.

It happened Saturday afternoon on the Ohanapecosh River just outside the southern border of Mount Rainier National Park.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said Barrett was sitting in a shallow area of the river cooling off and when he moved to a deeper area lost his balance.

It is believed he may have intended to ride over a waterfall into a lower pool, something he’d done during previous visits there, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

His fellow campers tried but couldn’t get him out of the water, according to Brown. A well-trained group of kayakers happened upon the scene and pulled him out, she said.

Barrett was transported to the hospital, but didn’t make it, according to Brown.

News brief: Fires strike two structures in Centralia

Monday, August 13th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Centralia man was hospitalized yesterday for smoke inhalation after a fire at his apartment on the 100 block of West First Street.

Firefighters called about 9:30 p.m. learned that neighbors alerted the resident, knocking on his door and waking him up, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

The fire affected an exterior wall; there was no damage to the interior of the ground floor unit but smoke got inside, according to Fire Capt. Scott Weinert.

The cause is still under investigation but it began in an area where the resident kept an ashtray and said he smoked, Weinert said.

Earlier in the day, firefighters were joined by crews from Chehalis and Rochester at Century Market on the 500 block of North Tower Avenue when a fire broke out.

Firefighters called about 1:30 p.m. quickly extinguished it, according to Weinert.

That blaze started outside the building and began to extend into a storeroom, Weinert said. Tower Avenue was closed for about an hour, according to police.

The cause is under investigation but one possibility may be discarded smoking materials, Weinert said.

Centralia firefighters were extremely busy yesterday, with 21 calls in the first 20 hours of their shift, the captain said.