Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

Investigator: No explanation for Boistfort house fire

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A fire investigator couldn’t determine the cause of a blaze that destroyed a Boistfort Valley home and most of its contents on Tuesday evening.

Investigator Derrick Paul said this morning he would let the insurance inspector to dig a little deeper to perhaps find out what started it.

Lewis County Fire District 13 Chief Kyle DePriest said the double-wide manufactured home is a total loss. Paul said the couple did have a fire safe and a couple of dressers with clothing were salvaged.

Approximately 20 firefighters with three districts fought the fire on the 1100 block of Boistfort Road; crews spent more than six hours at the scene, according to DePriest.

The residents are staying with family in the area, according to DePriest.

For background, read “Couple displaced by fire in Boistfort Valley” from Wednesday December 31, 2014, here


Smoke rises from home on the 1100 block of Boistfort Road on Tuesday evening. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Fire District 13

Couple displaced by fire in Boistfort Valley

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Flames light up the night sky on the 1100 block of Boistfort Road. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Fire District 13

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The cause of a house fire in the Boistfort Valley yesterday evening is being investigated today.

Nobody was home and no one was injured.

Firefighters were called just before 6 p.m. to the 1100 block of Boistfort Road, a mile or so south of the BawFaw Grange, according to Lewis County Fire District 13.

“I was one of the first units on the scene, and by the time we arrived, the structure was fully involved,” Fire Chief Kyle DePriest said.

Flames were already rising through the roof, he said.

Crews fought the blaze from the outside only, joined by members of Fire Districts 6 and 11, DePriest said.

He described the residence as a double-wide mobile or modular home, with wood siding.

The couple who live there were out to dinner in Chehalis, and returned while firefighters were still there. They had no ideas what could have ignited it, he said.

The structure is still standing, with heavy fire damage in its center, he said.

Firefighters were on the scene until about 1 a.m. An investigator will be heading out there today, he said.

L&I: Safety violations led to fatal explosion in Maytown

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The state has fined a Maytown fireworks company $1,200 for safety violations that contributed to this summer’s deadly workplace accident

One employee was killed and two others injured after an explosion at Entertainment Fireworks Inc. on Reeder Road on the morning of June 18.

They were outside preparing shells, inserting what the fire department called electronic matches.

The state Department of Labor and Industries report concluded the workers were not following the safety requirements for connecting the igniters, also known as “squibbing”.

“The employer did not establish, supervise and enforce their accident prevention program in a manner that is effective in practice,” the L&I inspector wrote of the serious violation.

Exactly what they did or did not do is not specified, but the rules refer to limiting the amount of pyro materials present during the process and specify how the personnel should all work on one side of the table facing the same direction.

A witness estimated he heard and saw about 15 commercial fireworks explode at about roof level of the buildings.

Bill Hill, 75, died at the scene.

At the time, a spokesperson for L&I said the business had not had any safety complaints, incidents or inspections for a number of years.

Two other violations were found as well. The company could not provide documentation it held safety meetings for employees nor did they have training records for their two forklift operators.

For background, read “Feds, state investigating fatal explosion at Maytown fireworks facility” from Thursday June 19, 2014, here

News brief: Snowshoer perishes on Mount Rainier

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Search crews looking for a missing snowshoer on Mount Rainer located his body yesterday next to Edith Creek in the Paradise area.

The 37-year-old man from Puyallup disappeared during Saturday evening’s winter storm that dropped 20 inches of snow in 48 hours.

Mount Rainier National Park spokesperson Patti Wold reported in a news release the Pierce County medical examiner would make the formal identification; the Associated Press reports today he is Louis Landry of Puyallup.

According to Wold, Landry was forced to descend because of severe conditions and was taken into a shelter by another party, but the shelter was destroyed and they became separated as they headed to Paradise.

For background, read “News brief: Puyallup man missing in Paradise backcountry” from Monday December 29, 2014, here

News brief: Oakville motorist injured on U.S. Highway 12

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

U.S. Highway 12 near Oakville is blocked as troopers investigate collision.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 63-year-old Oakville man was injured when his PT Cruiser was struck by a big rig on U.S. Highway 12 near Oakville today.

Troopers called just before 1:30 p.m. report that Clifford W. Harris was approaching the highway from Blockhouse Road and failed to stop at the stop sign. An eastbound Kenworth tractor with two flatbed trailers struck his car’s driver’s side front, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Harris was transported to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, according to the state patrol.

The road was blocked for an hour and 45 minutes.

The truck driver, Dale R. Long, 45, from Kelso, was unhurt, according to the investigating trooper.

Harris is to be issued a citation for failure to yield. His car was totaled.

News brief: County leaders consider Steve Mansfield to head up emergency management

Monday, December 29th, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

We know now what outgoing Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield plans to do, or hopes to do, after his retirement from law enforcement.

Mansfield is one of three candidates interviewed by the Lewis County Board of Commissioners to manage the Department of Emergency Management.

The Lewis County Division of Emergency Management has been run by the sheriff’s office since the year 2000, when Mansfield was the hands-on manager as a sheriff’s lieutenant. Once he became sheriff in 2005, he was its director, with a deputy director handling the day to day responsibilities.

The division, or department, is in charge of administering preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery strategy in regarding manmade or natural disasters.

County commissioners will soon oversee the division, instead of it being part of the sheriff’s office. Commissioner Lee Grose has said the change comes from the idea it needed a full time manager.

The salary range was advertised at between $4,672 and $6,283 per month.

The other finalists interviewed last week were Vivian Eason, with Thurston County Emergency Management, and Doug Wangen, who currently works for the county health department.

Commissioner Edna Fund said she expects the board to make a decision tomorrow.

Mansfield’s 30-year career in law enforcement comes to a close as former Sgt. Rob Snaza, recently promoted to undersheriff, takes over, after winning a contested election last month.

Snaza will be sworn in tomorrow.

News brief: Puyallup man missing in Paradise backcountry

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Updated at 11:36 a.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A search is underway at Mount Rainier for a missing snowshoer from Puyallup who disappeared during Saturday evening’s winter storm.

A hasty search with the Nordic Patrol took place yesterday but this morning personnel are in the air and on the ground in the area above Paradise, according to a park official.

They are looking around Edith Creek to the upper Stevens Canyon drainage, according to Mount Rainier National Park spokesperson Patti Wold.

Current conditions are cold and windy, according to Wold, and avalanche conditions are considerable. The air search will focus on high avalanche areas.

The road to Paradise will remain closed during the search.

Wold said this morning in a news release: The missing individual intended to overnight at Camp Muir, but was forced to descend due to formidable winter storm conditions.

A second party took him into their shelter at Panorama Point, she stated, but when the shelter was destroyed by the extreme conditions they attempted to complete their descent to Paradise together.

But during the descent the individual separated from the party in the vicinity of Edith Creek, according to Wold.

Responders include members of Tacoma, Everett, Seattle, and Olympic Mountain Rescues, U.S. Army Reserve 214th Air Division out of Joint Base Lewis McChord and park climbing rangers.

Read about current Thurston jail insufficient, while $48 million facility remains vacant …

Monday, December 29th, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports a planned $24 million jail that cost twice that to build and was ready for use more than four years ago remains idled in Thurston County, even as the sheriff rents beds for some of his inmates in Lewis and Chelan counties.

News reporter Amelia Dickinson writes that it’s costing taxpayers $400,000 more each year to maintain the empty place called the Accountability and Restitution Center, ARC, even as some of its never-used technology may be becoming obsolete. And the current lock-up facility is still insufficient in several ways, she writes.

Read more about how millions of dollars are allocated to the corrections department, but Sheriff John Snaza and county commissioners – all elected officials – disagree about the amount needed to open the vacant ARC. Read it here

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all

Thursday, December 25th, 2014


From Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Read about why Centralia has a mine-resistant military vehicle …

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Police Chief Bob Berg explains why the Centralia Police Department is one of 17 agencies in the state which have acquired mine-resistant MRAP vehicles, under the military’s surplus program, in a Seattle Times news story.

News reporter Mike Carter writes that agencies from Aberdeen to Yakima have taken advantage of the Defense Department’s so-called “1033” program, authorized by Congress in 1991 to allow surplus and outdated military items to make their way to police agencies.

In Washington, police have received more than $21 million worth of military hardware, according to Carter; nationwide it amounts to more than $5 billion.

Read more about about here

News brief: Three hurt in Centralia freeway pileup

Friday, December 19th, 2014

A Dodge Neon was rear ended, shoved into a truck and then hit from behind again on Interstate 5 in Centralia. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Department of Transportation

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Two teenagers from Winlock were injured in a five vehicle chain reaction collision on Interstate 5 in Centralia this afternoon.

The Dodge Neon they were traveling in was struck from behind by a box truck and pushed into a pickup truck, according to Washington State Patrol.

Troopers and aid were called about 12:45 p.m. to the northbound lanes in between the Mellen Street and Harrison Avenue interchanges.

Taylor J. White, 18, and Arizona R. Meyer, 17, were transported to Providence Centralia Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to responders.

“I’m pretty sure they’ll be discharged tonight,” Riverside Fire Authority Firefighter Tera Green said. “They were very lucky.”

The 2001 Isuzu box truck driven by Grady J. Bowman, 23, of Napavine, came to rest on the right shoulder and a Jeep Wrangler which was following too closely was unable to stop before colliding with the Neon and pickup, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The Neon was totaled.

The driver of the Jeep, Susan M. Creighton, 38, of Randle, was injured as well but not hospitalized, according to the state patrol.

The wrecks were blamed on inattention.

Citations were to be issued to Bowman for second-degree negligent driving and to Creighton for following too closely, according to the patrol.

Able to be driven from the scene were a Crown Victoria and the Ford pickup, the investigating trooper reports.

Back side of the Dodge Neon. / Courtesy photo by Aaron Towman


News brief: Laura Hickey gets slight modification to sentencing order

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Laura Lynn Hickey waits for the judge to arrive in Lewis County Superior Court today.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The actual hearing took less than two minutes, but seven friends and family of the former Centralia woman who cut off her premature newborn’s head in 2011 showed up to see her in court today.

Laura Lynn Hickey was back in Lewis County Superior Court from the Washington Corrections Center for Women at Purdy, to go before the same judge who sent her away for 30 years.

The Washington State Court of Appeals recently affirmed her sentence, but ordered a passage stricken from the findings of fact and conclusions of law document which was incorrectly recorded following her conviction.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer asked Judge Nelson Hunt today to enter an amended order. Hunt did.

The issue was related to language indicating her exceptional sentence was in part because the child suffered from methamphetamine intoxication. In the plea deal, Hickey stipulated to an aggravating factor that the victim was particularly vulnerable because of its age only.

Hickey, who was about halfway through her pregnancy, told authorities she unexpectedly delivered into a toilet and ended the baby’s life with a serrated kitchen knife as he was trying to take a breath. Her lawyer said she viewed it as a mercy killing.

For background, read: “Centralia mother who decapitated premature newborn back in court for technical issue” from Tuesday December 9, 2014, here

News brief: Defendants finally arraigned in Vader toddler death

Friday, December 12th, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Vader couple accused in the death of a 3-year-old boy they were caring for pleaded not guilty yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court.

Danny and Brenda Wing were charged in early November with homicide by abuse or, in the alternative, first-degree manslaughter; each are charged as either the principal or accomplice.


Jasper Henderling-Warner

The toddler, Jasper Henderling-Warner, died from what the coroner called chronic battered child syndrome.

Jasper died on Oct. 5, an evening when Brenda Wing called 911 to their home and said he wasn’t breathing. His 21-year-old mother had allowed the couple to care for her son for a period of time described by the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office as several months while she was homeless, traveling and looking for work.

The Wings gave conflicting accounts to detectives of the child’s final weekend.

Their trials were scheduled for the week of Jan. 26, before separate judges.

Danny A. Wing, 26, is represented by Todd Pascoe, a defense lawyer from Vancouver, Wash. Brenda A. Wing, 27, is represented by Seattle-based attorney John Crowley.

Ordinarily, a person has a right to be arraigned within 14 days, but they waived that right while they worked out hiring their lawyers.

The remain held in the Lewis County Jail, on bails set at $500,000 and $200,000 respectively.

For background, read:

• “Defendants in Vader toddler death case postpone arraignments again” from Thursday December 4, 2014, here

• RCW 9A.32.055: Homicide by abuse, here

• RCW 9A.32.060: Manslaughter in the first degree, here