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Cascadia 9.0: When the big one hits

Thursday, June 9, 2016 at 7:42 pm
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Community members discuss some of the nuts and bolts of how they might work together in the aftermath of a catastrophic earthquake.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Think about a 6.1 magnitude earthquake shaking for 32 seconds.

“This 9.0 is expected to shake for five and half minutes,” Jill Kangas said.

Kangas and Steve Mansfield, of the Lewis County Department of Emergency Management yesterday brought more than 100 people together to contemplate how to respond to a catastrophic event that would affect the entire Pacific Northwest.

“This scenario is going to be so far beyond anything we have experienced or prepared for,” Mansfield said. “We don’t have a plan in place (for this).”

Mansfield pointed to a large map.

“What I want you to see here is, there’s not going to be a lot of movement on I-5,” he said. “People are not driving, but walking, if they’re still alive.”

The six-hour gathering in the upstairs meeting room of the Lewis County Veteran’s Museum in Chehalis was the local portion of Washington state’s Cascadia Rising earthquake and tsunami simulation exercise. It’s meant to test local, state, tribal and federal government as well as select private sector and non-governmental organizations’ ability to deal with such a situation.

The Cascadia subduction zone, lying mostly offshore, is an approximately 800-mile long fault, running from British Columbia to California. Stresses have been building there for more than 300 years and experts say we can be certain another great quake will shake the region.

Based on a show of hands, only one person in the room had experienced an earthquake of 7.0 magnitude or greater.

Chehalis Fire Department Chief Ken Cardinale told the group what his agency saw in October 1989 around California’s Bay Area. It measured between 6.9 and 7.2, he said.

There was $5 to $6 billion in damage, 63 people were killed and more than 3,000 injured, Cardinale said. The Bay Bridge went down. The aftershocks were 4.0 to 5.0 in magnitude, he said.

“We had 1,700 calls to 911 in the first hour,” he said. “Dispatch became just a call taking center; our department had to dispatch itself.”

Mutual aid from neighboring departments was nonexistant, he said, because they too were affected.

Cardinale offered the lesson for the day: “Everything you know about day to day operations will not be able to put into place in an event like this.”

Yesterday’s participants were seated at eight tables, each representing an area in the county imagined to be entirely cut off from other areas when a magnitude 9.0 earthquake strikes.

The scene: Buildings are in rubble, utilities are down, communications and transportation systems are critically impaired.

There is no Internet. People may or may not be able to use the text function on their cell phones.

Throughout the county, 1,200 people are dead, 2,460 individuals are seriously injured and 12,000 others are without shelter.

Each group was tasked with identifying its resources, building its team and developing action plans for the first 24-, 48- and 72-hour periods.

“What I kind of see is people going to their local fire stations,” Napavine resident and candidate for Lewis County commissioner Bob Bozarth said at the table for the Centralia area.

“They will, you’re right,” Riverside Fire Authority Chief Mike Kytta responded. “They’re going to go there and to doctors’ offices.”

“We don’t have a local search and rescue team, so we’re going to have to organize that,” Kytta said.

They pondered where to set up a command post.

The city of Centralia operates an emergency operations center at City Hall during disasters, such as flooding.

“Our building will probably be dust,” Centralia Police Department Cmdr. Pat Fitzgerald said. “The EOC will probably just pop up where the EOC pops up, that’s the reality.

It could be the hood of some random person’s car, he speculated.

At the Napavine table: “We’re going to check on our neighbors.”

At the Boistfort-Pe Ell-Curtis table: Boistfort and Pe Ell already have a supply of food and water for 100 people. “Water is paramount,” Justin Phelps, public works employee for the town of Pe Ell says.

At times, the various groups shared with the entire room.

From the Toledo-Winlock-Vader table: Mark Anders spoke about the strategy for finding people who need help.

“You’re going to go house to house, to the areas that are the easiest to get to first,” he said. “To help the most people the quickest.”

From the Salkum-Onalaska-Mossyrock table: The Mossyrock and Mayfield dams are built to withstand Morton area earthquakes and should be fine in this scenario, Tacoma Public Utilities employee Jayson Lelli said.

Nobody from TransAlta was present to speak to the strength and expectations of the Skookumchuck Dam.

Former Lewis County Commissioner Ron Averill spoke up.

“That’s an earthen dam,” he said. “If it breaks, Centralia will be under water to the Miracle Mile.”

From the Chehalis table, Chief Cardinale: “One of the options we thought about for sheltering people, is we’re fortunate to have RV sales places around here.” he said. “Even if buildings are standing, with aftershocks, people are going to be afraid to go back in.”

“We also had the idea of commandeering National Frozen Foods,” Cardinale said.

The imagined number of dead in Chehalis is 384.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod, on what to do with the bodies:

“In the first hours, it’s not an issue,” McLeod told the group. “Our main concern would begin at the eighth hour.”

There’s insects, then rodents, he said. “You’ll begin to see mountain lions, bears and pack of dogs,” he said.

“Our plan is, they get buried where they are found,” McLeod said.

Specifically, McLeod said, to bury 200 people, it will take 400 square feet of space and moving 1,300 cubic yards of dirt.

Rationing limited resources will become a reality. No help can be expected from the outside for days, attendees were told.

“Stores don’t carry more than one to two days worth of supplies for their community,” Mansfield said. “Ten years ago, that was different.”

When help from the outside is mobilized, it will head first to the affected areas with the densest populations, such as Seattle and Tacoma, he said.

“If you think the military is going to be here within the first 72 hours, you’re wrong,” he said.

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Chehalis Fire Chief Ken Cardinale speaks about their group’s ideas.

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News brief: Chehalis home invasion suspect found, booked

Thursday, June 9, 2016 at 11:37 am

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – One of three suspects in a Chehalis home invasion robbery was arrested today, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

Back on the night of March 26, a 40-year-old woman called police to report three armed, masked men came in and demanded her valuables. She was unhurt, but they left with a Playstation, a 20-inch television, a DVR, a computer, two hard drives and a flash drive, according to police.

It happened at on Southwest 10th Street just  just off Market Boulevard.

Through investigation, a suspect was identified and an ‘Attempt to Locate” was issued for other police agencies, department spokesperson Linda Bailey said.

Earlier today, Jesse L. Harkcom was located by the Lacey Police Department and has been booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree robbery, according to Bailey. Harkcom, 34, is a Tumwater resident.

Two suspects remain outstanding.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, June 9, 2016 at 11:01 am
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•••

Updated at 3:08 p.m.

TEETH AS WEAPON LEADS TO JAIL

• A 39-year-old woman was arrested yesterday at Rotary Riverside Park in Centralia after she allegedly tried to bite a police officer. Police called just before 1 p.m. were attempting to subdue her at the scene of a disturbance at the 700 block of Harrison Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department. Anja M. Rajala, Centralia, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for third-degree assault, possession of methamphetamine and an outstanding warrant, according to police.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Chehalis police were called at 9 o’clock yesterday morning about an overnight vehicle prowl on Southwest 16th Street.

• Chehalis police were called about 11:25 a.m. yesterday about a possible car prowl on West Main Street.

UNRULY PATIENT

• A 26-year-old patient in the emergency room at Providence Centralia Hospital was arrested last night after allegedly intentionally damaging a glass door, according to the Centralia Police Department. Officers called about 7:47 p.m. to the 900 block of South Scheuber Road arrested David T. Alexander, of Centralia, for third-degree malicious mischief, obstructing and resisting arrest, according to police. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

ON THE ROAD, OFF THE ROAD

• Centralia police say a driver had a heart attack just before 6:30 this morning and collided with a stopped vehicle in a parking lot at the 1000 block of Eckerson Road. A witness started CPR and then arriving police officers took over until medics got on the scene, according to the Centralia Police Department. The patient was revived and transported to the hospital, according to police.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, obstructing a public servant, driving with suspended license, protection order violation; responses for alarm, dispute, runaway juvenile third-degree theft, disobedient teen, suspicious circumstances … and more, among 142 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at 5:54 pm
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•••

Updated at 6:10 p.m.

AUTO THEFT

• A 34-year-old Chehalis resident was arrested around 11 a.m. yesterday after being stopped for driving a stolen vehicle near Sixth and B streets in Centralia. The vehicle had been reported stolen out of Woodland, according to  the Centralia Police Department. Terry J. Burge was booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree possession of stolen property, according to police.

HARASSMENT AT JUVENILE DETENTION

• Chehalis police were called to the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center on Southwest Pacific Avenue yesterday morning to take a report of a 15-year-old boy who allegedly destroyed a pillow and also threatened the lives of staff. The case is being forwarded to prosecutors for evaluation of charges, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

AX USED TO ACCESS SHED

• A deputy was called about 5:45 p.m. yesterday to the 700 block of Eadon Road where the resident said a 53-year-old man she previously dated arrived, used an ax to cut the lock off her shed, put something in his truck and left. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said there is a protection order in place and although the man could not be located, they have probable cause for second-degree burglary, violation of a protection order and malicious mischief. The damage is $37.50, according to the sheriff’s office.

CAR PROWL

• Centralia police were called just before 4 p.m. yesterday to the 100 block of Virginia Drive where an individual reported that sometime during the night an unknown person entered their vehicle and attempted to remove the stereo.  The stereo was damaged but not taken, according to  the Centralia Police Department.

DRUGS

• Centralia police arrested a 35-year-old woman about 2:20 p.m. yesterday at the 900 block of North Washington Avenue for two warrants and for possession of methamphetamine. Brandy J. Shea, of Centralia, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

•  Centralia police were called about 8:30 a.m. yesterday to the 400 block of West Summa Street in Centralia regarding graffiti found on the school building.

AND FROM MORTON

• Morton police reported today an incident they were called to just before midnight on May 30 in which an individual reported that while they were sleeping, a man entered their home on the 100 block of Fourth Street. Police were told the homeowner got up and punched the intruder, who then left, according to the Morton Police Department. The victim couldn’t say what direction the stranger headed, and no one matching the description could be located, according to police.

• The Morton Police Department reports it is investigating an incident in which a resident of the 300 block of Kosmos Lane possibly was swindled out of $500. The individual reported last week they sent a money gram to buy a dog in Colorado but discovered their payment went to Georgia instead, according to police.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license, interference with a health care facility; responses for alarm, dispute, disorderly person, third-degree theft, unfounded report, illegal burning, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street … 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.

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News brief: Grass, brush along I-5 ignites

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at 3:59 pm
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Members of two fire departments chased flames along the freeway yesterday. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Patrol

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Multiple fires broke out along a two to three mile stretch adjacent to southbound Interstate 5 south of Napavine yesterday.

Members of Lewis County Fire Districts 15 and 5 were called out about 1:45 p.m.

The fires were quickly knocked down by the first responding units as they advanced down the roadway and then extinguished by secondary responding units, according to Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Anderson.

A single lane was blocked by the state Department of Transportation to allow a safe working area, Anderson said.

Washington State Patrol spokesperson Trooper Will Finn said the cause is unknown but one theory was a vehicle backfiring.

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Firefighter extinguishes freeway brush fire. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Patrol

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Driver from last summer’s deadly Onalaska wreck back in court

Tuesday, June 7, 2016 at 8:28 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Joseph W. Rogerson is at risk of losing his deferred prosecution on last summer’s DUI, related to a head-on crash in Onalaska that left three teenagers dead.

Rogerson, now 37, was found to have been traveling in his own lane and not to blame for the July 13 wreck on state Route 508.

The Land Rover was carrying eight young people. Killed were its driver, Arnold W. Mullinax, 17, and Taylor N. Thompson, 13, both from Onalaska. Dakota L. Dunivin, 18, from Chehalis, died the following day at the hospital.

Rogerson, formerly of Chehalis, is being monitored because of his case in Lewis County District Court, but today he went before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court, charged with third-degree assault of a child.

Judge Richard Brosey noted the new case includes an allegation he was drinking and asked if prosecutors have filed a motion to revoke his deferred DUI.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said he had not, at this time.

Deferred prosecution is an arrangement in which a defendant can ask the court to defer a finding of guilt in return for agreeing to abide by certain conditions for a certain amount of time, according to Meyer.

Brosey today ordered Rogerson to wear an alcohol monitor bracelet which will detect if he drinks.

Rogerson was arrested on Friday by the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office following an investigation involving a 7-year-old girl who told a counselor at R.E. Bennett Elementary School her step-father hit her in the arm, leaving a bruise.

The sheriff’s office said yesterday the girl, her mother and step-father had gone shooting out in the woods near Pe Ell the weekend before and when the girl tried to get Rogerson to stop hitting her mom, he punched the child. Charging documents in the case indicate the girl told him to stop and hit him in the arm, then he hit the girl in her arm.

Both adults denied it happened, but the girl’s older brother corroborated her statement. Both children told law enforcement they thought the grown ups had been drinking, according to court documents.

Rogerson was released yesterday on $10,000 unsecured bond, and was back in court today after the felony charged was filed.

Defense attorney Joely O’Rourke asked that the conditions of release be altered to allow Rogerson to go back to his home in Pe Ell, saying he was his grandfather’s sole care provider and the child is now with her actual father, based on a court order.

Rogerson’s arraignment is scheduled for June 16.
•••

For background, read “No felony charges forthcoming from triple-fatality Onalaska wreck” from Friday October 30, 2015, here

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, June 7, 2016 at 2:03 pm
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•••

Updated at 6:52 p.m.

BURGLARIES AND OTHER THEFT

• A business on the 1700 block of Industrial Way in Centralia was burglarized during the night, according to a report made to the Centralia Police Department yesterday morning. Missing were bolt cutters, a camera and a 12-pack of soda, according to police.

• Police were called to a business on the 2000 block of  Industrial Way in Centralia just after 8 a.m. yesterday where someone had broken in to several buildings. The only thing initially noted as missing was a lighter, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 20-year-old Toledo resident was arrested this morning in connection with a call about 8 p.m. yesterday to the 200 block of Northeast Terrace Road in Chehalis in which a 17-year-old said he arrived home to find an acquaintance stealing his belongings. Numerous items were outside, including a guitar and the suspect fled, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Tavryn L. Lindsey was booked into the Lewis County Jail for burglary, according to police.

• Chehalis police were called at 2 p.m. yesterday to the 400 block of Northeast Washington Avenue regarding suspected theft of medications.

CAR PROWL

• Centralia police were called to the 200 block of West Walnut Street just before 9 a.m. yesterday to take a report that someone went into a garage and stole items from a vehicle.

• Police were called about 8:30 a.m. yesterday to the 300 block of South Pearl Street where sometime during the night, someone stole change from inside an unlocked vehicle.

SCHOOL BUS FIGHT

• Chehalis police were called about 3:50 p.m. yesterday about an alleged assault on a school bus involving two children under 12 years old. No arrests were made because of the children’s’ young age, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Parents will be contacting school and transportation authorities about it, according to police.

MAN JAILED AFTER THREAT TO CUT OFF CHILDREN’S HEADS

• A 40-year-old man was arrested yesterday after he allegedly jumped in front of a moving vehicle on a Centralia street, pounded on the hood and yelled vulgar names at the driver and then allegedly turned his attention to another woman who approached and threatened to cut off the heads of her children. Benjamin R. Hardy reportedly admitted to police to being verbally aggressive, but denied making any threats and said “never in my life hurt another human being.” He was booked into the Lewis County Jail and today charged in Lewis County Superior Court with felony harassment and disorderly conduct. Lewis County prosecutors asked a judge this afternoon to hold Hardy on $100,000 bail, saying he has had at least 54 warrants. Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer pointed out he learned from the victim’s husband they got a letter from the post office notifying them their mail would no longer be delivered to their address because of their neighbor Hardy’s actions. Charging papers don’t indicate the time or location of the alleged incident, but state Hardy lives on West Pear Street. Defense attorney Joely O’Rourke told the judge her client has lived at the same address for 20 years and noted harassment is a class C felony – with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Judge Richard Brosey set bail at $25,000.

AND FROM MORTON

• An officer responded to a 6:11 p.m. call eight days ago to the 200 block of Pleasant View Drive in Morton and found a male bent over grabbing his throat who seemed to be choking. The officer performed  the Heimlich maneuver and whatever was stuck in his throat was dislodged.  The officer stood by for medical to arrive and then cleared the scene.

• An individual was cited at about 2 a.m. on a Saturday, a week and a half ago, for (allegedly) urinating in public.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrant, trip permit violation, fourth-degree domestic assault, protection order violation, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license,; responses for alarm, dispute, civil issue, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street, young male driving recklessly, reports of several “kids” on train tracks … and more, among 172 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

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News brief: Young teen hurt in fall from bed of pickup onto highway

Tuesday, June 7, 2016 at 10:12 am

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 13-year-old Centralia boy was seriously injured when he fell from the back of a pickup truck onto state Route 507 near Bucoda last night.

Firefighters were called to the scene at 8:06 p.m. at the 20100 block of the highway, just south of town, according to authorities.

“From my understanding, he was in the bed, and mom and grandma were hauling hay,” Trooper Shaneka Phillips said this morning. “He was very critical, at the time, he had life-threatening injuries.”

The boy, who is un-named, was transported to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Phillips said she didn’t know the child’s condition this morning.

The investigating trooper reports the 2010 Ford F150 pickup truck was southbound at a slow rate of speed when it happened.

Brenda L. Cleveland, 36, was driving and her passengers also included Debbie Morsbach, 57, and a 10-year-old boy, all from Centralia, according to the state patrol.

The cause is under investigation. Trooper Phillips said as of this morning, there was no reason to suspect any criminal or malicious behavior.

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News brief: How to protect your house from brush, grass, forest fire

Monday, June 6, 2016 at 3:11 pm
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Looking north towards Gore Road chicken farm fire from Toledo area on Aug. 19, 2015. / Courtesy photo

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Each year, wildland fires consume homes built in or near lands prone to such fires.

But, there are actions residents can take to reduce the risk of becoming a victim.

The Lewis County Fire Chiefs Association is conducting town hall style meetings to share information with area residents about strategies to defend their property from the threat of wildfires.

The public is invited this Wednesday evening to the Baw Faw Grange in the Boistfort Valley for such a gathering.

Lewis County Fire District 13 Chief Gwen Turner says everyone is encouraged to show up.

“First 100 in attendance will be served a dinner provided by the Baw Faw Grange, Boistfort Emergency Assistance Group and Boistfort Firefighters Association,” Turner states.

The fire chiefs note studies show that as many as 80 percent of homes lost to wildland fire may have been saved if brush around the homes were cleared and defensible space created around structures.

Chehalis Fire Department Chief Ken Cardinale said last week’s meeting at the Lincoln Creek Grange went well. A similar presentation is scheduled for central Lewis County inhabitants in Salkum on June 18, according to Cardinale.

There is no better time than now to prepare and educate your family, friends and neighbors, according to Turner.

The Baw Faw Grange is located at 995 Boistfort Road. The meeting starts at 6 p.m.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, June 6, 2016 at 1:22 pm
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•••

CHILD ASSAULT

• A 37-year-old Pe Ell man has been arrested for third-degree assault of a child following an investigation that concluded he punched his 7-year-old step-daughter in the arm when she got in between a physical dispute involving him and her mother. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports a deputy on Friday following up on a referral from Child Protective Services learned the trio had gone shooting out in the woods the weekend before and when the girl tried to get Joseph W. Rogerson to stop hitting her mom, he struck the girl, leaving a bruise. Both adults denied it happened but there was a witness who described what occurred, according to the sheriff’s office. Rogerson was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

VICTIM FINDS STOLEN VEHICLE

• A Chrysler minivan stolen from the 700 block of South Rock Street was located by its owner who was able to track it down yesterday because their cell phone was inside. Centralia police called about 9 a.m. yesterday were told the vehicle had been last seen parked about 11 p.m. the night before and the victim used “Find-a-Phone” to find it parked along Yew Street, according to police. A GPS device was missing and about three-quarters of a tank of gas had been used, Sgt. Kurt Reichert said. The odometer showed someone put about 300 miles on the van, Reichert said.

BAD BILLS

• Chehalis police were called about 6:20 p.m. on Saturday to the 100 block of Southwest Interstate Avenue where a customer spent counterfeit money. An investigation is ongoing, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

OTHER THEFT

• Chehalis police were called to the 1900 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue on Friday afternoon about a license plate getting stolen from a car hauler.

DRUGS

• A 37-year-old was arrested for possession of heroin after he was found slumped over in the driver’s seat of his vehicle on Saturday morning on the shoulder along the 4600 block of Galvin Road in Centralia, with a mirror and suspected tar heroin next to him. Joshua W. Norvell, of Centralia, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A search turned up brass knuckles, so a case for possession of a dangerous weapon is also being forwarded to prosecutors, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said.

MOSSYROCK HOME BURNS

• A manufactured home on the 200 block of Swofford Road southeast of Mossyrock is a complete loss from a fire on Friday, according to Lewis County Fire District 3. A neighbor reported smoke about 11:18 a.m. and when the fire department arrived, they saw light smoke and flames at the back door, Chief Doug Fosburg said. A search inside for any people was cut short by too much fire and it wasn’t long before the entire residence was engulfed in flames, Fosburg said. The renter was finally located elsewhere, later in the day, he said. One firefighter was transported for minor smoke inhalation, he said. Fosburg said the victim was himself, and it happened when the wind changed the direction of the smoke as he was beginning incident command. It appears fire had been burning in the ceiling for as much as an hour before the fire department arrived but an investigator is looking into the cause, he said.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrant, drugs, shoplifting, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license, no-contact order violation; responses for alarm, dispute, civil issue, third-degree theft, runaway teenager, suspicious circumstances, child left alone in vehicle, dog and/or cat alone in vehicle, requests to have a petition signature gatherer removed, request to check on a person passed out on a street corner, request to ask a crowd of noisy kids to move along  … and more, among 129 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, June 5, 2016 at 1:20 pm
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•••

‘SALT LAMP’ ATTACK

• A 45-year-old Centralia woman was arrested for second-degree assault after she allegedly threw a “salt lamp” at an individual’s face on Friday. Police called about 2:15 p.m. to the 500 block of East Maple Street were told she had also scraped the victim with a knife the prior evening, according to the Centralia Police Department. Diana Y. Eyle  was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

POLICE: FORMER EMPLOYEE IS INTRUDER

• A 40-year-old Centralia man reportedly caught inside his former boss’s residence taking jewelry was arrested for second-degree burglary on Friday. Police responded about 9:15 a.m. to the 500 block of Yew Street and then booked David A. Casebolt into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

LOCKER PILFERING

• Centralia police were called to Thorbekes at the 2000 block of Borst Avenue about 10:20 p.m. on Friday about the theft of a wallet from a locker.

FOOD AND DRINK THEFT

• Centralia police were called just before 2 p.m. on Friday about the theft of dog food and vodka from the 100 block of Harrison Avenue. The suspect fled prior to police being called,  according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police responded to the 800 block of Eshom Road on Friday morning regarding juveniles spray painting derogatory words and pictures on rocks, windows, pavement, and a yard. The case is under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrant, hit and run, trespass, unlawful transit conduct, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, civil issue, fourth-degree domestic assault, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street … and more, among 303 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 48-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

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Winlock child molestation case from late 1990s resurrected

Saturday, June 4, 2016 at 8:05 pm
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•••

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 60-year-old Toledo-area man appeared in Lewis County Superior Court yesterday in response to a summons, after learning he was accused for the second time of inappropriately touching a 5-year-old girl almost 18 years ago.

Steven M. Nowlen is charged with first-degree child molestation.

According to charging documents, the allegations were investigated when the alleged victim was a child, but recently the now-22-year-old reported the matter to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Nowlen was distressed to learn news reporters were present during his hearing.

“This isn’t going to be in the newspaper is it,” he asked outside the courtroom. “This is embarrassing.”

Nowlen said the allegation was investigated years ago, and suggested he couldn’t understand why it was getting looked at again.

“I took a lie detector and passed it with flying colors,” he said.

The charge, filed on May 18 in Lewis County Superior Court, alleges sexual contact sometime between Nov. 1, 1998 and March 1, 1999.

The allegation is the child was at her aunts home in Winlock, taking a bath with her cousin and the aunt’s boyfriend touched her between her legs when it was time to get out of the tub.

The court documents indicate the case was re-investigated beginning this past November.

Sheriff’s detective Jeremy Almond gathered records and conducted interviews and found the original case records were incomplete. In 2000, Winlock Police Chief Forrest McPherson suddenly died and there is no record of what happened with the case after the child was examined at St. Peter’s Sexual Assault Clinic.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Sheila Weirth wrote in the court documents that information from the medical examination revealed a condition “which can be seen in children who have been sexually abused, but is not a specific finding of sexual abuse.” The clinic recommended further police investigation.

Nowlen when interviewed by the detective denied ever inappropriately touching the child and told him he passed a polygraph in the 1990s, according to Weirth. There is no record of him taking one at that time, Weirth wrote.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey was told yesterday afternoon it appeared Nowlen qualified for a court appointed lawyer. Centralia attorney David Arcuri was appointed.

The offense carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Prosecutors requested and were granted a $10,000 unsecured bond as a condition of release. Nowlen’s arraignment is scheduled for June 16.

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Late incoming Sirens: Police and fire roundup

Friday, June 3, 2016 at 6:43 pm

DRUGS

• A 30-year-old Centralia area man who avoided a felony charge yesterday was promptly re-arrested for drug possession, a different felony. Tyler V. Geist was stopped on Interstate 5 on Wednesday and arrested for second-degree robbery, because Centralia police said he had taken money from the wallet of a female acquaintance and shoved her in the process. Prosecutors yesterday declined to file the felony charge, but Geist’s car had been impounded and a detective going through the vehicle yesterday found inside of it residue in a baggie that field tested positive for meth as well as a container with brown residue, according to prosecutors. Charging documents in the new case state the detective also found needle caps, drug paraphernalia and a digital scale with brown residue. Geist was charged today in Lewis County Superior Court with possession of heroin and possession of methamphetamine. His bail was set at $10,000.

• A 23-year-old man was arrested for possession of heroin yesterday after he was picked up at his workplace in Chehalis on a state Department of Corrections warrant. In his pocket was a black tube and a folded up piece of foil that tested positive for the drug, according to charging documents. Matthew C. Gilmon was booked into the Lewis County Jail and charged today in Lewis County Superior Court with possession of heroin. The rural Chehalis resident has been working at the same job since he got released almost a year ago on a previous conviction, he and the defense attorney for the day Shane O’Rourke told the judge this afternoon as the amount of bail was discussed. O’Rourke noted he himself had prosecuted the earlier case and recalled that Gilmon remained out of custody after his conviction and returned to court for his sentencing hearing. The judge allowed Gilmon release on a $10,000 signature bond.