Archive for February, 2017

Morton woman charged with burning down own home

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office requested a $25,000 arrest warrant today for woman charged with first-degree arson in connection with a Morton house fire 14 months ago.

Kristin H. Skiles, 45, was summonsed by mail to appear this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court but did not show.

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Sunday December 20, 2015

The fire destroyed a two-story home on the  200 block of Third Street the morning of Dec. 20, 2015.

Prosecutors allege Skiles told a roommate she would burn the house down before the executor of the estate “or anyone gets anything.”

Nobody was injured, but three people were present, the fire chief said at the time.

According to charging documents, Skiles was being evicted because the house was going into foreclosure.

Her roommate Diana Stephens told police that when she arrived home that morning, the doors were nailed shut and Skiles was inside, sitting on the couch and made the statement about what she would do.

Skiles initially told police she’d been doing her hair and knocked an ashtray over, but in a follow up interview reportedly said she was suicidal and had once lit a small string on fire with her cigarette lighter, according to charging documents.

When she was interviewed again a month later, she said she couldn’t remember how it started but that she may have accidentally started it, the documents allege.

Fire Investigator Jay Birley concluded the origin was upstairs but the cause was undetermined. A fire investigator working on behalf of the insurance company concluded it could not have been begun the way Skiles first described based on studies that show how long it would take a discarded cigarette to ignite other materials.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead included statements gathered by the Morton Police Department from Stephens and also Mark Clevenger who was at the house that suggested the fire was intentionally set by Skiles.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher told a judge this afternoon the summons had been sent to Skiles last known address in Morton and didn’t come back in the return mail.

First-degree arson has a maximum penalty of life in prison.
•••

For background, read “News brief: Flames, water claim Morton house” from Monday December 21, 2015, here

News brief: SUV crashes and burns at Ritchie Brothers

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Winlock man was hospitalized with a head injury after his vehicle collided with a 500-gallon propane tank and burst into flames on private property south of Chehalis yesterday.

The 56-year-old motorist thought he was traveling along North Military Road but instead was at Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers just west of Interstate 5, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Stephen G. Kamhout was operating a 2003 Ford Expedition which was destroyed, according to authorities.

He was able to flee the vehicle and when contacted by law enforcement appeared to be under the influence of intoxicants, sheriff’s Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said.

Lewis County Fire District 5 was joined by personnel from Districts 15, 7 and 2 and put water on the tank until someone was able to get close enough to shut off the valve, Firefighter Sam Heldreth said. Nobody else was injured.

Two nearby propane tanks were not affected, Breen said.

Ritchie Brothers is a heavy equipment auction business.

Kamhout was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital to be medically cleared for booking but they kept him to treat a head injury, Breen said.

A case for driving under the influence will be referred to prosecutors for charging, Breen said.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, February 27th, 2017
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•••

DEPUTY ASSAULTED

• A 49-year-old Chehalis woman allegedly struck a deputy with her fist after the deputy went to the 300 block of state Route 131 in Randle to remove her from a residence. Brandi L. Weston reportedly did not know the homeowner and was refusing to leave last night. Weston was booked into the Lewis County Jail for third-degree assault and a case for second-degree trespassing was referred to prosecutors, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

HOMELESS PERSON ASSAULTED

• Chehalis police are investigating after a woman brought a homeless man to the police department on Friday evening so he could report getting assaulted at the playground four days prior.

BURGLARY AND THEFT

• A burglary to a garage on the 400 block of Courtland Street was reported on Friday morning in which a battery charger and several hand tools were stolen, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police were called about 3:15 p.m. on Saturday to the 500 block of South Market Boulevard after a female saw two individuals inside her vehicle in a parking lot there. An officer subsequently located a 14-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy and arrested them for vehicle prowl and released them to parents, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Centralia police were called to the 300 block of Noel Avenue in Centralia about 7:20 a.m. on Saturday to take a report of the theft of a small safe and contents from a travel trailer.

• A flight bag was reported stolen from a residence at the 100 block of Jalyn Street in Centralia at about 8:45 p.m. on Friday.

• Centralia police took a report on Saturday morning from the 900 block of J Street where someone stole a bicycle from the yard and left another bike behind.

OTHER ARREST

• Riley J. Youckton was pulled over about noon on Saturday at the 1200 block of Southwest Pacific Avenue in Chehalis and arrested for third-degree driving with a suspended license, and then booked into the Lewis County Jail in connection with a Centralia case, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

ON THE ROAD, OFF THE ROAD

• A 59-year-old Centralia motorist suffered an elbow injury when she rolled her vehicle at the 2400 block of Little Hanaford Road on Friday. A deputy called about the single-vehicle collision just before 3 p.m. noted the driver was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital and cited her for wheels off the roadway, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The 1995 Kia Sportage was totaled.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, obstructing, trespassing, third-degree theft, misdemeanor assault, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, civil issue, harassment, vehicle collision, suspicious circumstances … and more among 368 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 72-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

News brief: South Gold auto shop catches fire

Saturday, February 25th, 2017
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Four fire departments responded to commercial structure fire on South Gold Street. / Courtesy photo by Riverside Fire Authority

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A fire that broke out this morning at Burkett Auto Sales in Centralia was extinguished before it could spread to an adjacent office and large shop building.

The fire on the 1100 block of South Gold Street however did an estimated $30,000 damage to the shop area of the building, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

Firefighters called at 8:35 a.m. were responding to multiple 911 calls reporting heavy black smoke coming from the building, according to Fire Capt. Casey McCarthy.

They were joined by crews from the Chehalis Fire Department, Lewis County Fire District 6 and West Thurston Regional Fire Authority. Nobody was injured, according to McCarthy.

Burkett Auto repairs and sells used automobiles. The cause is under investigation.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, February 24th, 2017
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VICTIM CLUBBED IN HEAD

• A 29-year-old man was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital yesterday evening after he was assaulted with a wooden club at the 600 block of South Washington Avenue in Centralia. Officers called just before 6 p.m. learned there had been a disagreement between the victim and a 26-year-old acquaintance, according to the Centralia Police Department. The victim had been struck in the head, according to police. The investigation is ongoing.

TOOLS, EQUIPMENT STOLEN

• A Centralia area resident contacted the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office yesterday to report the discovery of a burglary to a building on the 100 block of Joppish Road in which an air compressor, a skill saw, an angle grinder, a sawzall and a guitar were missing. The owner checked his game cam and realized it happened between 11:40 a.m. and 6:07 p.m. on Jan. 17, according to the sheriff’s office. There is a person of interest, Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said.

AUTO THEFT

• A blue 1994 four-door Honda Accord was stolen from where it was parked at Centralia High School on the 800 block of Eshom Road in Centralia sometime between 7:50 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. yesterday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It has a license plate reading AYR 1922, according to the sheriff’s office. The owner had let her brother use it and the loss is estimated at $2,000, Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said.

LOCKER PILFERING

• Chehalis police took a report yesterday afternoon of the theft of a men’s Bulova wristwatch from a locker at W.F. West High School. It has a black face and a silver link-style band, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

PHONE STOLEN

• An individual who accidentally left a Trac phone in the restroom at a store on the 1600 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue in Chehalis called police at 11:20 p.m. yesterday after tracking it to an area in Chehalis.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Police were called just before 4 p.m. yesterday to the 1600 block of Harrison Avenue to take a report of fuel siphoned from a vehicle.

DRUGS

• Chehalis police were called over to Green Hill School just after 9 a.m. yesterday where a smoking device and green vegetable matter were found in the possession of a student-inmate. The items were collected and police are awaiting the results of lab testing, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

VANDALISM

• An unknown suspect broke the windshield on a parked vehicle at the 1300 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police at 2:50 p.m. yesterday.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor assault, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, civil issue, suspicious circumstances … and more among 143 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017
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GUNS, GARDEN TOOL, TAKEN IN BURGLARY

• A deputy was called about 7:30 p.m. yesterday when a man arrived home at the 100 block of Kirkland Road outside Chehalis to find his front door open and several firearms missing. Someone had also gone into his garage and taken a Stihl weed eater, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It happened sometime after 5:45 a.m., according to the sheriff’s office. Among the missing guns are a Mossberg shotgun and a 22 caliber Stevens rifle, Chief Dusty Breen said.

STORAGE FACILITY BREAK-IN

• Someone forced their way through a gate and broke into four units at a multi-unit storage facility at the 300 block of Toledo-Vader Road outside Toledo sometime between Monday and Tuesday morning, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Two locks were cut, according to the sheriff’s office.

BURGLARY AND THEFT

• Centralia police were called to a burglary at a business on the 500 block of North Tower Avenue just before 9 a.m. on Tuesday. Taken were some small tools and change, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police took a report of the theft of antiques from a vacant house at the 1000 block of Eckerson Road in Centralia just before noon on Tuesday.

• Centralia police were called about 5:40 p.m. on Tuesday to the 100 block of South Tower Avenue about the theft of a computer tablet from a retail store.

• Centralia police took a report late yesterday afternoon of the theft of a notary public stamp from a mailbox at the 3100 block of Russell Road.

AUTO THEFT

• Chehalis police were called about 7 o’clock yesterday morning to the 100 block of Southwest 11th Street where someone had stolen a car while it was being warmed up. Missing is a blue 2005 Ford Focus, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Someone stole fishing gear from a vehicle parked at the 1400 block of Lewis Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police on Tuesday. It happened during the night, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Someone slashed tires on two vehicles at the 1200 block of North Washington Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police at 8 a.m. yesterday.

GUN FIRE CENTRALIA

• Centralia police reported yesterday they were investigating an incident from the night before in which a resident near the 100 block of East Center Street produced a handgun and fired a bullet into the air to scare off a group of people, who fled the area. The gunfire followed a dispute, according to the Centralia Police Department. Officers contacted the resident who fired the shot, recovered the gun and took statements at the scene, according to police.

ON THE ROAD, OFF THE ROAD

• Centralia police were called just before 11 p.m. yesterday for a report of a hit and run to a garage by a box truck at the 800 block of South Tower Avenue.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, probation violation, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, harassment, civil issue, stray rooster, runaway juvenile, misdemeanor domestic assault, malicious mischief, suspicious circumstances … and more among 312 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 48-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

News brief: Security images showing theft of Centralia utility payments leads to suspect

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Centralia police reported this morning they’ve arrested a suspect in the break-in to the Centralia city utilities payment drop box over the weekend and recovered several checks. The owners will be notified, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Erick D. Teichman-Lehrer, 31, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree theft, according to detective John Panco.

Police said the box on the  500 block of North Pearl Street was burgled at approximately 11 p.m. on Sunday and discovered on Monday morning.

The box had last been emptied by the city at about noon Sunday, according to police.

Anyone who dropped a payment into the box between noon and 11 p.m. on Sunday is advised to contact their bank and put a stop payment on their checks, police say.

Anyone who thinks their payment may have been stolen is asked to contact Officer Mike Lowrey at 360-740-1105 and reference case number 17A1928.

The city of Centralia recommends anyone who put a payment in the box any time between noon on Sunday and 8:30 a.m. on Monday contact the customer service center at 360-330-7657 to assure the payment was applied to their account.

Anyone who notices anything unusual related to payment processing of their utility account should also contact the customer service center.

Detective Panco today said images caught on camera led to a vehicle that matched the vehicle leaving the scene and their suspect and also showed the theft. Teichman-Lehrer allegedly admitted to breaking into the box and stealing envelopes containing checks made out to the utility department, according to Panco.

The red drop box was to be removed by the city and won’t be available until further notice.

News brief: Nighttime fire chases eight occupants out of house

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017
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The scene on South King Street in Centralia. / Courtesy photo by Riverside Fire Authority

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Four adults and four children are displaced after a house fire during the night in Centralia, which started as a clothes dryer fire.

Firefighters called at 12:43 a.m. to the home on the 500 block of South King Street found all the occupants had gotten out and were uninjured, according to Riverside Fire Authority. Two cats perished, according to Fire Chief Mike Kytta.

“Firefighters quickly attacked the main body of fire which was located in the utility room and kitchen,” Kytta stated in a brief summary of the incident.

Firefighting efforts were challenged for short period of time by a live electric power line that was in the vicinity of the utility room, according to Kytta.

The fire department Tweeted it began in the laundry room where the dryer was in use at the time and heavily damaged the rear of the home. It left smoke and heat damage throughout, according to Riverside.

Riverside was assisted by the Chehalis Fire Department. The residents are they are receiving assistance from the American Red Cross.