Posts Tagged ‘By Sharyn L. Decker’

Wounded home intruder’s condition deteriorating, deputies relieved of guard duty to cut costs

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Updated

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The 51-year-old man shot in the abdomen when he was found inside someone else’s home over the weekend has taken a turn for the worse, so the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office released him from their custody to avoid being responsible for paying for his medical treatment.

Brian L. Creed was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after the early Sunday morning incident at a house on the 400 block of Highway 603 west of Chehalis.

A news release from the sheriff’s office later that morning described his condition as stable although a nursing supervisor at the hospital that afternoon said Creed was in critical condition.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher in court documents filed yesterday asked a judge to cancel a planned court appearance noting Creed could be laid up for as much as a month.

Meagher stated he was told by Sheriff Steve Mansfield yesterday morning Creed was going to require surgery to repair internal damage to his intestines from the gunshot.

The hospital bills are staggering, there’s no sense sticking the taxpayers with them, Meagher wrote.

Creed was charged on Wednesday in Lewis County Superior Court with burglary and misdemeanor assault for allegedly entering the unlocked home of 24-year-old Joshua Norman and his wife and then charging Norman who was armed.

The sheriff’s office said Norman fired one shot with a 40 caliber handgun and then Creed tackled him. Norman broke free and held Creed at gunpoint until deputies arrived shortly after 5 a.m., according to the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff Mansfield held a press conference on Monday morning where he shared the findings of the initial investigation and said it was a straightforward case of the use of deadly force. Meagher told news reporters it appeared the 24-year-old acted appropriately in protecting himself and his wife.

Mansfield said Norman’s only mistake was not firing more shots, not firing sooner and not using better ammunition.

Creed was high methamphetamine, according to Mansfield. The sheriff said he, and probably Creed, didn’t know why he went into the house.

Sheriff’s deputies had been guarding Creed at the hospital.

Jail Chief Kevin Hanson said this morning Creed is now being watched by hospital security instead of the sheriff’s office.

“He’s not going anywhere, he’s not a threat to the community,” Hanson said.

Creed is on a feeding tube and in the critical care unit, according to Meagher.

By law, the hospital must notify them when he is to be released and the sheriff’s office will go pick him up, Hanson said.

The charging documents filed in court this week tell a similar story to what the sheriff’s office has already recounted.

Norman woke up to voices outside and thought someone was in his garage because a motion activated light turned on, the documents state.

He told his wife to call 911 and armed himself, Meagher wrote.

The encounter was described by Sheriff Mansfield as occurring while Norman stood outside his closed bedroom door.

However, Meagher states in court documents it happened in the kitchen.

According to Meagher, when Norman heard his front door open and someone walk inside, he went to the kitchen and flipped on the light.

He saw a lone, white male unknown to him, Meagher wrote.

Norman ordered the intruder out, at gunpoint, telling him would be shot if he didn’t leave, Meagher wrote.

The intruder charged, Norman fired his gun, they wrestled, Norman broke free and held Creed at gunpoint until deputies arrived, according to Meagher.

Norman suffered a bump on his head in what the sheriff called a fight for his life as the two men rolled around on the floor.

Sheriff Mansfield has repeatedly described Norman not by his  name, but as the home owner. County property records however show the owner is another man and woman. Mansfield said earlier this week he didn’t know who owned the house and didn’t mean to use the term as literally true.

Creed has two felony theft convictions and a trespass conviction from 2009 as well as one misdemeanor theft conviction from 2011 and another from last year, according to court documents. He also currently has an active warrant out of Cowlitz County District Court, the documents state.

The new burglary charge does not allege he was attempting to steal, but that he unlawfully entered the home and committed the crime of assault while inside.

Mansfield said Creed recently moved back into a nearby house, at 110 Nix Road, a residence that had been the source of great fear in the neighborhood. It’s owner and former lease holder say he may have been visiting, but has never lived there.

It was home to several men transitioning out of prison until last summer when the county pressured it to close its doors.

Documents in Creed’s court file show his address on Clark Road near Onalaska.

Creed has a court date of April 23 to face a judge and hear his charges.
•••

CORRECTION: This news story has been updated to correctly reflect the date Creed is summonsed to appear in court.

•••

For background, read “Lewis County sheriff pronounces full support for shooter of intruder” from Tuesday February 12, 2013, here

Another Lewis County marijuana garden shut down

Friday, February 15th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Centralia police drug investigation led officers today to a home in south Chehalis where they seized more than 150 marijuana plants growing indoors.

Sgt. Jim Shannon said their SWAT team at about 2 p.m. visited a couple who live on the 100 block of Terra Bonita Drive, off Hillcrest Road.

The two were arrested without incident, he said.

It was a “pretty garden variety” operation, Shannon said.

Justin Currier and Amber Leonard tried to present a medical marijuana “script” but they weren’t in compliance with those rules, according to Shannon.

The case grew out of an investigation that began early last month, he said. Police, through informants, have purchased marijuana from them, something that’s not okay in the world of medicinal pot, according to Shannon.

It was only a month ago when Shannon and his team confiscated another indoor crop, consisting of 90 plants at a home on Seminary Hill Road in Centralia. In that case, a pair of brothers were charged with supplying product to medical marijuana dispensaries around the state.

Officers were at the scene today until until about 4 p.m. collecting evidence. The plants were in various stages of growth, he said.

Currier and Leonard, ages not readily available, were to be booked into the Lewis County Jail for possession with intent deliver; and he was additionally to be booked for delivery of marijuana and delivery of narcotics, pills, Shannon said late this afternoon.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, February 15th, 2013

BURGLING IN ONALASKA

• About $1,200 worth of power tools were stolen from an Onalaska home-under-construction, according to a report made to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office yesterday. A deputy responding to the 100 block of Chases Lane was told someone used a key hidden on the ground near the front door and made off with a generator, a skill saw, a nail gun and other tools, according to the sheriff’s office. The owner, a 69-year-old man from Brush Prairie, told the deputy the break-in had occurred sometime between Saturday and Tuesday, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

• A deputy called about 6 p.m. yesterday to the 200 block of Jorgensen Road in Onalaska found someone had tried to pry up a garage door, doing about $250 damage, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Nothing was taken, according to the sheriff’s office.

THEFT CENTRALIA

• A wedding ring was reported stolen from the 1200 block of North Pearl Avenue in Centralia yesterday.

• Police were called about 1:50 p.m. yesterday regarding a vehicle prowl at the 3100 block of Cooks Hill Road in Centralia. Numerous unspecified items were missing, according to the Centralia Police Department.

HIDING FROM POLICE

• A 40-year-old Centralia man was found hiding in an attic at a home on the 1200 block of West Main Street in Centralia yesterday. Officers called about 1:50 p.m. suspected Marcus E. Prince was in his wife’s home where he is prohibited from being because of a no contact order and arrested him, according to the Centralia Police Department. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for burglary, Sgt. Stacy Denham said.

DRUGS

• A 30-year-old man was arrested about 4 p.m. yesterday for possession of methamphetamine following a traffic stop at the 600 block of South Pearl Street in Centralia. An officer recognized the driver, Isaiah C. Marlow and knew he had a suspended license, according to police. In his pocket was found a hypodermic needle with a substance that field tested positive for the drug, Sgt. Stacy Denham said. Marlow, a Centralia resident, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Graffiti was reported discovered yesterday morning on an air conditioning unit on the roof of a building at the 1200 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia.

WRECKS

• Firefighters were called about 3:25 a.m. today to Old Highway 99 near Prather Road outside Centralia when a vehicle collided with a utility pole splitting it in half. There was no injury to the male driver, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority.

• A 3-month-old infant and three adults escaped injury when a too fast driver missed a right-hand turn at the 100 block of Gish Road in Onalaska yesterday afternoon and ran down an embankment, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy arriving about 3 p.m. noted the Isuzu ended up with damage on one side and  cited its 18-year-old driver for wheels off the roadway, according to the sheriff’s office.

• Centralia police responded to three different collisions on Harrison Avenue yesterday, beginning about 1:40 p.m. with an accident that blocked a lane of traffic for about an hour near Belmont Avenue. All were two-vehicle wrecks and only the third one at about 6:20 p.m. a few blocks east of Interstate 5 resulted in any injury, according to police. In that case, one occupant complained of back pain, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND …

• A couple of misdemeanor domestic assaults, family disturbance, noise complaint, cell phone that was stolen two weeks earlier and someone has parked in my spot. …

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Updated at 1:28 p.m.

SCUFFLE WITH POLICE ENDS WITH ARREST

• A 44-year-old man was arrested for third-degree assault after he allegedly fought with an officer who was attempting to detain him about 8 p.m. yesterday at the 1500 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. Mitchell W. Sinclair, of Centralia, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department. Officers planned to also suggest charges of resisting arrest and obstruction, according to police. Sinclair is going to be released from jail and not charged with a felony, pending further investigation, according to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office.

DON’T LOOK AT THOSE BRASS KNUCKLES ON MY CAR SEAT

• A 52-year-old Chehalis man was arrested about 3 o’clock this morning after contact with an officer on the 600 block of West Main Street in Chehalis when he dropped a set of brass knuckles on the seat of his vehicle as he was getting out. Rick A. Rowland was in trouble for a suspended driver’s license, being in the company of a female who had a no-contact order against him and then also unlawful possession of a weapon, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

NO TOKING IN PUBLIC

• Police were called to Garbe’s Tavern on the 300 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue about 8:45 p.m. yesterday to an inquiry about whether it was okay for someone to be smoking pot inside the bar. It’s not clear if anyone actually was, but no, it is not allowed under the new marijuana law, Chehalis police detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said.

TWIN CITY TOWN CENTER LOST AND FOUND

• An officer was called to the liquor store on the 1300 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue in Chehalis about 11 a.m. yesterday because a little baggie of what appeared to be drugs were found that someone had dropped. The caller asked police to take it.

PAIN PILLS STOLEN

• Centralia police were called just before 4 p.m. yesterday to the 2400 block of Borst Avenue regarding pain medication that was missing after the individual had company.

FRAUD

• An officer took a report yesterday morning from the 1600 block of Johnson Road in Centralia about apparent fraudulent activity on someone’s credit card.

VANDALISM

• Someone spray painted graffiti on a dumpster in an alley near the 900 block of South Pearl Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police abut 3 p.m. yesterday.

NURSE SUSPENDED UNTIL LEARNING ANGER MANAGEMENT

• The state Department of Health reported yesterday it suspended certified nursing assistant Miranda M. Klemola for becoming impatient with an 83-year-old resident of a skilled nursing facility while she was helping take him to the bathroom and yelled at him for not standing up straight, used profanity and pushed him down onto the commode. He was not hurt. It happened a year ago. Klemola, who is in her early 30s and either lived or worked in Lewis County, agreed late last month that she exhibited unprofessional conduct and would take five hours of specific nursing courses, including anger management, before petitioning for reinstatement of her credentials, according to documents filed with Department of Health. The disciplining authority considered Klemola’s potential for successful rehabilitation in reaching resolution of the matter. No criminal behavior was alleged.

AND MORE …

• Plus various warrant arrests, fender benders, complaints about neighbors or tenants, smoking too close to someone else’s doorway, cars getting kicked, neighbor’s dog peeing on a porch, punching ex-boyfriend in the face for name-calling, found mountain bike, shoplifting, failing to register as a sex offender …

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Updated at 6:04 p.m.

VEHICLE VERSUS POLE

• A 22-year-old driver is hospitalized in fair condition this morning after his vehicle collided with a sign pole in the area of West Main and Yew streets in Centralia overnight. Police called just after 1 a.m. arrested Tyler J. Aust, of Centralia, for driving under the influence, according to the Centralia Police Department. He was wearing a seatbelt, but had pain in his face and was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

GIRL FIGHT

• Police were called about 8:20 a.m. yesterday to the 900 block of Johnson Road in Centralia about two girls in a dispute with another girl. Charges of misdemeanor assault will be recommended to prosecutors in the case regarding two of the females according to the Centralia Police Department. No one was arrested, according to police. Further details were not readily available.

THE OPPOSITE OF A HOUSE WARMING PARTY

• Someone burglarized a Packwood area home making off with a king-sized mattress with sheets, a dresser and its contents and other furnishings including miscellaneous artwork, a vacuum cleaner and a shower curtain with its rod, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy called to the 100 block of Sunstone Road yesterday was told the break-in occurred sometime since Oct. 12, according to the sheriff’s office. Also missing are a stereo and a floor lamp, Cmdr. Steve Aust said.

ZOOM ZOOM

• Centralia police were called about 7:45 p.m. yesterday to the 2700 block of Eureka Avenue where a red with silver Honda 70 motorcycle had gone missing from a shed sometime during the previous two weeks.

FRAUD

• An individual from New Mexico called Chehalis police yesterday after discovering a fraudulent purchase from their account, amounting to about $400 from the Chehalis Wal-Mart, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Chehalis police were called about 5 a.m. today regarding a case of possible identity theft. Further details were not readily available.

SWASTIKA SHOWS UP IN NORTH CENTRALIA

• Someone spray painted a swastika on a building on the 1300 block of Rose Street in north Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday morning.

UNWANTED REPTILES RETURN

• Police were called yesterday afternoon to the Vintage apartments on the 1500 block of North National Avenue in Chehalis where a woman wanted help ridding her home of a stink-emitting snake. She said there were two; one behind a chair and another behind her television, according to the Chehalis Police Department. One of them stuck his head out to drink some milk, police were told. There was no arrest, there is no written report, there are no snakes, according to police. Police detective Rick Silva said he responded to the afternoon call and looked around the apartment. He saw no signs of snakes, only the trap she’d bought to catch them and little dishes of milk and fruit set out to entice them, he said. The woman, he thought might be in her 60s but wasn’t sure, told him maybe they’d crawled behind her dishwasher so she pulled it out so Silva could examine the area, he said. They could have been hiding up under the TV stand, so she flipped it over and they looked there as well, he said. “Once she did that, I said, well, I must have scared them away,” Silva said. “She was happy with that.” She’ll call back if they return. An officer was at the same apartment last month because the resident thought the snakes were coming through her microwave. Police actually get a lot of calls from people who see things that aren’t really there, the detective said, recounting instances where folks have been sure their phones are tapped, they are being videotaped or think listening devices have been planted in their home. He recalled one man who was certain there was a gorilla in his closet, he said. In yesterday’s case, he asked the woman if she wanted to go to the hospital; she said no. She had food, her home was clean, there wasn’t much more he could do, he said. “It’s just people see these things, they think it’s real,” he said. “To them, it is real. You just try and appease them, and help them the best you can.”

Lewis County sheriff pronounces full support for shooter of intruder

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
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Sheriff Steve Mansfield describes what occurred inside the home off Highway 603 after the armed resident confronted a stranger.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County prosecutor sent a message yesterday, regarding the weekend incident in which a rural Chehalis resident shot and injured a nighttime intruder inside his house.

It appears he acted appropriately in protecting himself and his wife, Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said, speaking for his boss, Jonathan Meyer who was out of town.

Meagher said their office will still review the situation, as they will any time someone shoots someone else.

Deputies were called about 4:45 a.m. on Sunday to the 400 block of Highway 603 where the 24-year-old resident said he was asleep with his wife and heard someone talking outside, the person came in the home and then charged him as he stood outside his bedroom door, according to the sheriff’s office.

The identity of the 24-year-old man who fired one shot with a 40 caliber handgun has not been released.

“This is about as straightforward of a case of use of deadly force as we’ve had in a longtime,” Sheriff Steve Mansfield told a press conference yesterday at the Lewis County Law and Justice Center in Chehalis.

“As a matter of fact, about the only thing I could say the victim could have done better is he could have fired sooner, fired more often and he could have used a better brand of ammunition,” Mansfield told the gathering.

The gun shot victim was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with a bullet wound to his lower abdomen, according to the sheriff’s office. Brian L. Creed, 51, was listed in critical condition on Sunday at mid-day, but by yesterday the hospital claimed he was not listed on its patient directory.

Creed is in the sheriff’s office custody for a probable burglary charge, according to Mansfield. He is at the hospital, but under the full time watch of a deputy, he said.

What Creed was doing in the couple’s manufactured home isn’t clear.

Mansfield said Creed lives on nearby Nix Road and appeared to be highly under the influence of drugs, probably methamphetamine.

The couple’s door had been left unlocked, according to the sheriff.

When the young man told him to stop, to get on the ground, Creed came at him with his arms up in the air, Mansfield said. That’s when the young man fired, according to Mansfield.

“The victim found himself in a fight for his life,” Mansfield said, describing the two men as rolling around on the floor until the resident broke free and held Creed at gun point until deputies arrived.

Mansfield said Creed made comments that “led one to believe he probably didn’t know why he was there in the purest sense of the matter.”

The young man was uninjured, but got a bump on his head, according to the sheriff’s office.

Mansfield emphasized to the gathered news reporters yesterday that the public needs to realize his deputies are not likely to be present at the moment one needs them most.

Whether it means getting a gun or not for protection, folks need to take personal responsibility for their own safety, Mansfield said.

“People need to think through these sorts of things,” he said.

The exterior of the home where this occurred was well lit, according to the sheriff.

Under furthering questioning, Mansfield said people need to always consider if a reasonable person in the same situation would use deadly force.

“It has to be for your life, or another life threatened,” Mansfield said. “It can’t be for your property.”

The young couple, and their neighborhood, happened to be very well prepared, the sheriff said.

They have a block watch group that became very active last year when they realized a three-bedroom house on Nix Road was home to several men transitioning out of prison.

The county pressured it to close it doors, which it did soon after the county filed a civil suit last July regarding alleged zoning violations.

Sheriff Mansfield and block watch captain Bradd Reynolds said yesterday that Creed had recently moved back into the house. He isn’t and hasn’t been a tenant there however, according to the property owner Janice Thompson and the former manager of transition homes, Judy Chafin-Williams.

Thompson said she understands Creed is acquainted with her renters and does visit there. She said she didn’t know much more about him, except she thinks a single man.

“This is the nightmare we all talked about,” Reynolds said of Sunday’s encounter the young couple had with Creed.

The former police officer says he tells neighbors to get guns, but learn how and when to use them.

Mansfield said Creed is a convicted felon and has some misdemeanors, mostly from Cowlitz County.

“Some, I believe some drugs, thefts,” Mansfield said. “Nothing violent like we saw here.”
•••

Hear an excerpt from the 911 call, here

For background, read “Twenty-four-year-old Chehalis man shoots, wrestles with intruder” from Sunday February 10, 2013, here

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New no trespassing signs have gone up outside the rural Chehalis home

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

CHILD SEX CASE SUSPECT SOUGHT

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning they secured a $100,000 arrest warrant for a 26-year-old Salkum resident accused of ongoing sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl in a case they first learned about last Tuesday. Wanted is Raul B. Castillo-Lopez, according to the sheriff’s office. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said the suspect may still be in the area or may flee to Mexico. Brown is asking for tips on his whereabouts.

THEFT OF TOOLS AND STUFF

• A deputy was called about 1:30 p.m. yesterday about a burglary at the 5000 block of state Route 508 near Morton where all kinds of valuable were missing including a non-working antique musket. The victim, a 27-year-old man from Edmonds, said other stolen items included a desktop stereo, a saw, a compressor, a weed eater, more tools and clothing, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A barn on the 4000 block of Cooks Hill Road outside Centralia was burglarized of almost $4,000 worth of tools and 20 sheets of plywood, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The victim called 911 yesterday evening and said it occurred sometime since Feb. 1, according to the sheriff’s office.

DRUGS AT SCHOOL

• A 15-year-old student was arrested at Centralia High School yesterday morning for possession of marijuana, a pipe and prescription medication – that was not his, according to the Centralia Police Department. He was booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center, according to police.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police were called about 5 p.m. yesterday regarding graffiti in an alley near the 1500 block of Windsor Avenue.

• Police were called about 8:25 a.m. yesterday regarding a window broken out of a truck parked near North Railroad Avenue and East Center Street in Centralia.

DIRTY PHONE CALL, ANYONE?

• An individual called 911 about 3 p.m. yesterday when they answered a ringing pay phone near the bus stop near Northeast Division Street in Chehalis and got an earful of obscenities.

FIGHTING OVER PHONE

• Morton police were called about 11:25 a.m. on Friday to the 100 block of First Street where two brothers were arguing over the use of a cell phone. One of the boys was a pre-teen, the other was in his late teens, according to police. Arriving officers settled the issue by giving the phone to the parents, according to the Morton Police Department.

CENTRALIA WOMAN FOUND IN CHEHALIS

• Chehalis police were called about 12:45 p.m. yesterday when a confused and lost elderly woman wandered into a dental office on Northwest Park Street. It was an older lady who got a bit turned around, according to police. It turned out she resides at Cooks Hill Manor, an assisted-living facility in Centralia, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Police don’t know how she ended up in Chehalis and neither did she, detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said. An officer drove her home, Wilson said.

News brief: Centralia standoff target’s cause of death a mystery

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Updated at 4:43 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

An autopsy is scheduled for this morning to figure out what killed a 58-year-old Centralia man who was the focus of an hours-long standoff with police over the weekend.

William L. Thomas was discovered dead by SWAT team members who finally stormed his house about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

North Tower Avenue was closed at both ends of the block beginning at Fourth Street while officers used numerous means to coax Thomas outside.

Centralia Police Department Sgt. Carl Buster said yesterday there was no  obvious cause of death, no visible signs of trauma to Thomas’s body.

Police said on Saturday they responded to the home for threats and suicidal subject. When an officer arrived, Thomas emerged with a butcher knife and then retreated inside, according to police.

Buster yesterday clarified that the “gas” introduced into the home was actually what he described as basically pepper spray in powdered form. He called it OC powder.

Besides using a megaphone to attempt to communicate with Thomas, police launched eight rounds of the substance through windows, as well as three more blasts of it, according to Buster.

Police never got a response from Thomas.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod said he expects to have some answers about the death this afternoon.

Update 4:39 p.m.: McLeod said despite completing the autopsy, a determination about the cause and manner of death will now have to wait until after the results of toxicology tests come back.

That can take six to eight weeks, according to McLeod.

No signs of trauma were found, he said.
•••

For background, read “Centralia man dead after allegedly displaying a knife” from Saturday February 9, 2013 at 7:22 p.m., here

News brief: Family chased from apartment by dryer fire

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A dryer fire yesterday afternoon displaced a family of four from an apartment on the 2600 block of Cooks Hill Road in Centralia.

Firefighters called about 3:50 p.m. found a large volume of smoke coming from the front and rear of one apartment; the occupants of four units in the building had all evacuated themselves, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

Crews contained the fire to the dryer, with minimal extension to the surrounding walls, according to Assistant Chief Rick Mack.

Nobody was injured.

The apartment’s contents sustained substantial smoke damage, Mack said in a news release. Damage is estimated at $5,000.

The two adults and two children are receiving assistance from the Red Cross, according to Mack.

Mack found the fire originated in the mechanical components of the combination washer-dryer.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Updated

SHERIFF’S OFFICE SEEKING SAFETY MINDED THIEF

• The sheriff’s office is looking for a 2007 Komatsu excavator hauled away from a Centralia-area work site over the weekend. A deputy called Sunday to the 300 block of Kuper Road was told a witness saw an individual wearing an orange safety vest and a white hard hat load the piece of heavy equipment onto a trailer just before 5 a.m., according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The trailer was pulled by a 1980s maroon dump truck, according to the sheriff’s office. The owner, a 52-year-old Chehalis man, said the excavator is valued at about $108,000, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

MOM ARRESTED FOR UNDERAGE DRINKING PARTY

• More than a dozen minors and a 52-year-old mother were arrested when deputies busted up a noisy drinking party at an Adna home on Friday night. Deputies responding to a complaint about 11:25 p.m. at the end of Jerica Lane saw two young people with beers and subsequently spoke to Connie M. Robinson, 52, who told them yes there were young people drinking, it was a party for her son, but she wasn’t allowing any of them to leave, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies got a search warrant to go inside where they cited 18 under-21 individuals for minor in possession, according to the sheriff’s office. Robinson was arrested for supplying alcohol to minors, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Brown said the son is 18 years old, so he wasn’t among those who got in trouble because under the law, an 18-year-old can drink alcohol at home with their parent’s permission.

MORE THEFT

• Police were called about 8:45 a.m. yesterday about the theft of a chainsaw from the 2400 block of Eureka Avenue in Centralia.

• A 19-year-old Centralia man was arrested on Saturday for second-degree theft in connection with a burglary to an outbuilding at the 100 block of Garrard Creek Road near Rochester. Dustin Nickols reportedly admitted he stole about $600 worth of items on Jan. 31 but said he had an accomplice, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Nickols was additionally arrested for malicious prosecution because he allegedly lied about the other involved individual, to “try to get the heat off” of him, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail, Brown said.

• Chehalis police were called about 3:45 p.m. on Friday regarding another attempted break-in to a building on the 100 block of Northwest Prindle Street.

• A deputy was called on Saturday to the 100 block of Pompey Peak Drive in Randle about a stolen fence. A large section was missing, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A 26-year-old Centralia man was arrested yesterday for possession of stolen property in connection with an earlier situation, according to the Centralia Police Department. Officers spotted him about 12:30 p.m. walking near North Cedar Street and Centralia College Boulevard and took him into custody, according to police. Christian D. Brown was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police. Further details were not readily available.

OUT OF CONTROL SON

• Deputies were called about 6:30 p.m. on Friday to a Silver Creek residence by an 82-year-old woman who said her adult son was drunk and tearing the house apart. When deputies arrived to the 100 block of Gershick Road, they found 60-year-old Steven Fishback passed out and arrested him according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. He allegedly had done more than $3,000 worth of damage to a wooden electric organ, an antique room divider and a lamp, according to the sheriff’s office. “He had no explanation as to why he tore the house apart,” Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Fishback was booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree malicious mischief, Brown said.

OUT OF CONTROL DAUGHTER

• Chehalis police were called just after 9 p.m. on Friday about a 9-year-old girl reportedly whining, crying and screaming because her mother wouldn’t stay with her while she was going to bed. An officer handled the issue with a phone call, according to police.

WOMAN ASKS POLICE TO TELL MAN TO PULL UP HIS BRITCHES

• Chehalis police were called about 1 p.m. on Friday to a complaint from a woman about a man working on his vehicle in the Wal-Mart parking lot; his jeans had slid down and exposed his underpants. Chehalis police detective Sgt. Gary Wilson didn’t have details about the outcome, but said even so-called plumber’s butt isn’t classified as indecent exposure in a criminal way.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, February 10th, 2013
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Courtesy photo by Debbie Davis Dwelly

Updated at 4:56 p.m.

ONE INJURED IN FIERY WRECK NEAR WINLOCK

• Firefighters were called just before 1 p.m. today when a car went off the roadway near Winlock, struck a wire fence and caught fire in a ditch. One male was airlifted to Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver, according to Lewis County Fire District 15. Firefighter Patrick Jacobson said he didn’t know if the patient got out on his own or if bystanders pulled him out but the vehicle was fully involved in flames when they arrived. It happened near Morton and Military roads on state Route 505, Jacobson said. The driver is identified as James M. Hunter, 66, of Centralia, by the Washington State Patrol. His 2005 Hyundai Accent was destroyed. The cause of the wreck is under investigation, according to the state patrol.

ANOTHER HOT HONDA CAR TURNS UP IN TENINO

• Centralia police took a report about 8:30 a.m. yesterday of a 1991 Honda Civic stolen during the night from the 400 block of North Oak Street. It was found several hours later in the Tenino area with its battery missing and some wires cut, according to the Centralia Police Department.

TRICKERY AND FRAUD

• Centralia police took a report from a 75-year-old woman on the 2400 block of Leisure Lane who fell victim to a phone scam on Friday morning. A caller claiming to be from the Publisher’s Clearinghouse told her she needed to purchase a $300 prepaid PayPal card and give them the number before she could collect her prize, according to police. The woman was told someone would be arriving at 10 a.m. to collect more money, but they never showed up, according to the Centralia Police Department. The woman is out $300, Sgt. Stacy Denham said.

• Centralia police took a report yesterday from a female at the 1200 block of G Street in Centralia regarding fraudulent use of her bank account.

UNRULINESS

• Police used a Taser gun on a 29-year-old Centralia man when he allegedly tried to fight with officers arriving at the 1000 block of Orton Street last night. Officers responding about 11 p.m. were told Nichole R. Unterwegner, 30, pushed several people, according to the Centralia Police Department. She was arrested for disorderly conduct, according to police. Justin J. Russell, 29, was arrested for obstruction, resisting arrest and being in possession of unspecified drug paraphernalia, police reported. Both were booked into the Lewis County jail but scheduled to be released today.

• A 27-year-old Centralia man was arrested about 5 p.m. on Friday after he allegedly slashed a tire near the 1100 block of F Street and then was found at a neighbor’s home, where he was arrested for violating a protection order and other alleged offenses, according to the Centralia Police Department. Francisco T. Lamas was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

ATTEMPTED BURGLARY AT HISTORIC HOUSE

• Centralia police are investigating an incident in which the front door was kicked in at the historic Borst Home on the 2500 block of Pioneer Way. An officer responding to an alarm about 10:15 p.m. on Thursday noted nothing appeared to be missing, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Twenty-four-year-old Chehalis man shoots, wrestles with intruder

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Updated at 1:35 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A rural Chehalis resident shot and injured an intruder outside his bedroom door overnight.

Deputies were called about 4:45 a.m. to the 400 block of Highway 603 where the 24-year-old resident said he was asleep with his wife and heard someone talking outside, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

He armed himself with a pistol and a subject somehow got inside, according to the sheriff’s office.

“The suspect, Brian L. Creed, 51, of Chehalis entered the residence and started down the hallway towards the homeowner who was standing in front of his bedroom door to protect his wife in their bedroom,” the sheriff’s office stated in a news release.

Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said the resident told Creed to stop, but Creed charged him.

The resident fired one shot but was then tackled; the resident broke free and held Creed at gunpoint until deputies arrived shortly after 5 a.m., according to Brown.

The sheriff’s office says Creed had been using methamphetamine earlier; he recently moved into a house nearby off Nix Road.

Brown said the intruder was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle in stable condition. The 24-year-old resident was reportedly uninjured.

A nursing supervisor at the hospital said Creed is in critical condition.

Detectives were on the scene this morning conducting an investigation, according to Brown.

Sheriff Steve Mansfield scheduled a news conference for tomorrow and issued a prepared statement.

“My office works very hard in ensuring people feel safe and secure in Lewis County, however; people have to be prepared to protect themselves in situations like this in their own homes,” Mansfield stated. “Our response times are as fast we can make them but there may be a time when you are by yourself and you are forced to make a life or death decision to protect yourself and your family, like this man did.”

Centralia man dead after allegedly displaying a knife

Saturday, February 9th, 2013
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Police tried for at least an hour and half to get a allegedly knife-wielding man to come outside before storming the home.

Updated at 7:49 p.m. and 8:46 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CENTRALIA – An hours-long standoff on North Tower Avenue in Centralia ended early this evening when police entered a home and found the subject deceased.

Police Chief Bob Berg said it began with a 57-year-old Centralia man reportedly threatening his wife and sister with a knife. William L. Thomas was suicidal, police said.

When an officer arrived to the house, just north of Fourth Street, Thomas emerged with a butcher knife and then retreated inside, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Thomas’s mother, sister, wife and a family friend were outside and were taken away from the area by police.

Crowds gathered at both ends of the block, which were strung with yellow police tape, and listened as police used a loudspeaker to coax the man outside. A gray armored vehicle parked on the street in front of his home.

Some nearby residents had been asked to leave their homes.

After an hour and half of attempted negotiations, the SWAT team entered and found the man deceased, Berg said. Police later said Thomas is 58 years old.

Detectives are at the scene conducting an investigation, treating it as a crime scene, the chief said. Police didn’t say how Thomas died, only that his cause of death is unknown.

Chief Berg said the department has a “history” with the Thomas, and he was about to go to jail for assaulting one of Berg’s officers. Yesterday, he was upset about a city light crew in the alley behind his house, Berg said.

When officers first arrived about 1:30 p.m., Thomas threatened to stab one of his female family members in the heart, according to police.

This afternoon, officers used various mean to entice him outside, shooting tear gas into the home numerous times before finally breaking through the front door.

They never got any response from him, Berg said.

Tower Avenue, a main route through town, was reopened about 6 p.m.

It was back at the end of April when Thomas was arrested for reportedly grabbing an officer’s arm and slamming it into a gate when police responded to a dispute at the 1000 block of North Tower Avenue. Thomas filed a claim against the city saying the two officers assaulted him damaging his glasses and injuring him.

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North Tower Avenue was taped off between Fourth and Fifth streets until around 6 p.m. tonight.

•••

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SWAT members creep onto the front porch.

 

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, February 8th, 2013
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Elaine Clark, part owner of the Fantasy Shop, said the business had such a bad Christmas, they were hoping for a better Valentine season.

BANDIT LOADS UP ON  ADULT SEX TOYS, BEDROOM APPAREL

• A gloved, ski mask-wearing burglar used duct tape to cover up security cameras at a Chehalis adult store and loaded up his truck with merchandise while it was closed yesterday morning. It happened at The Fantasy Shop on the 800 block of West Main Street near the park and ride lot between 7:10 a.m. and 8:15 a.m., according to the Chehalis Police Department. He made off with at least $2,000 worth of adult toys and other items such as dress up clothing and blow up dolls, Sgt. Gwen Carrell said. “Kind of the high-end stuff,” Carrell said. “So he knew what he was looking for and left the junk.” Police say surveillance footage shows he first tried to get in by ramming the front doors with his pickup truck and when that failed, broke a window. Officers responded to an alarm and brought in a police dog, but the man was gone, according to police. Police are asking anyone with information to please call them. The subject is described as a thin, white, middle-aged man with short brown hair and a wide widow’s peak who was wearing a Carhart-type jacket, jeans and possibly tennis shoes. The vehicle is a white, probably 1990s Ford Ranger with a roof that has chipping paint and rust, as well as chipped spots on its tailgate, according to Carrell. It has what she described as split-lid, diamond box tool box, she said. Elaine Clark, part owner of the Fantasy Shop, said she would imagine someone at the park and ride that time in the morning could have seen something. Clark said the business had such a bad Christmas, they were hoping for a better Valentine season. They still have plenty of merchandise left, she said.

SHOE STORE THEFT

• Two males and a female described by Centralia police only as black reportedly shoplifted eight pairs of shoes from the Nike store on the 100 block of High Street in Centralia last night. Police called about 7:30 p.m. were told workers lost sight of the trio when they ran across a parking lot, according to the Centralia Police Department. Police think they fled in a vehicle.

FUEL STOLEN

• Police were called about 4:30 p.m. yesterday about gasoline stolen from U-Haul trucks parked on the 1000 block of South Gold Street in Centralia.

JEWELRY THEFT

• Centralia police were called about 12:23 p.m. yesterday to the 1100 block of West Plum Street regarding a stolen ring. The victim said it was a one karat diamond ring valued at $1,500, according to the Centralia Police Department.

TRUCK PROWL
• A deputy was called yesterday to the 100 block of Olequa Drive near Vader where a man told them that sometime since Monday, someone prowled his pickup truck and made off with a tool tray, a spot light, 70 CDs in a case and other items.

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Chehalis police are hoping anyone who recognizes this truck or the man in this security video image will contact them as they investigate the burglary to The Fantasy Shop. / Courtesy photo

•••

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He looks like Spiderman here, inside the adult gift store. / Courtesy photo

Chehalis firefighter’s synthetic marijuana case ends with misdemeanor

Friday, February 8th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Former Chehalis firefighter Adam Myer was sentenced yesterday to one day in jail in connection with an issue involving the synthetic marijuana called “Spice”.

Myer resigned from the fire department last autumn after an investigation in which Spice wrappers were found in the trash in the fire station building.

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Adam Myer

He pleaded guilty in Lewis County Superior Court yesterday to misdemeanor use of drug paraphernalia. A felony count of possession of the controlled substance was dropped.

The synthetic marijuana is one of numerous similar products that used to be available legally for purchase over the counter.

As part of yesterday’s proceedings, the 43-year-old also pleaded guilty to an unrelated separate charge of driving under the influence of Spice.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher told the judge that as the drug investigation unfolded, he learned of the DUI that occurred on Sept. 9, 2011.

It involved a private vehicle, not a fire truck, Meager said. Myer denied using the drug during work hours.

For the DUI, Judge Richard Brosey sentenced Myer to the maximum of 364 days in jail with all but one of the days suspended for two years.

Brosey imposed almost $2,000 in fines and noted Myer’s driver’s license would be suspended for 90 days.

Myer has said he never knowingly purchased anything illegal. Outside the courtroom, he said it was a fair outcome, with the change in his offense from a felony to a misdemeanor.

“They adjudicated it properly,” he said.

He was ordered to report to jail on Feb. 19.

•••

For background, read: “Synthetic marijuana found at Chehalis fire station building” from Friday October 26, 2012, here

News brief: Centralia used car business owners deny theft scheme

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Keith A. and Lorrine D. Birdwell pleaded not guilty today to what prosecutors call major economic offenses that victimized a Centralia-based bank in connection with the Toledo couple’s used car business.

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Keith and Lorrine Birdwell

The Birdwells operated  Birdwell Brothers Auto Sales with sites in Centralia and in Lacey.

They were charged last month with one count of first-degree theft and five counts of felony unlawful issuance of a bank check.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Eric Eisenberg contends in charging documents that Security State Bank’s unrecovered losses are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. He alleges the couple used various deceptions to avoid paying back the bank on loans for the vehicles.

Keith, 47, and Lorrine, 44, went before Judge James Lawler in Lewis County Superior Court this afternoon. They were accompanied by Vancouver, Wash.-based attorney Chad Schaff.

They pleaded not guilty to all charges. A trial date was set for the week of April 22.
•••

For background, read “Centralia used car lot owners appear in court on criminal charges” from Wednesday January 23, 2013, here

Potential plea agreement in the works for Chehalis bar fight stabbing suspect

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A plea deal has been offered for the Centralia woman charged with a stabbing outside a Chehalis bar, but her lawyer said he hasn’t yet had time to present it to her.

Lena A. Castillo, 24, remains in the Lewis County Jail since a fight last month outside Garbe’s Bar and Grill on Northwest Chehalis Avenue.

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Lena A. Castillo

Castillo is charged with first-degree assault.

Prosecutors allege the victim started the physical altercation but that Castillo continued attacking 22-year-old Ashley Stewart with small knife after Stewart stopped fighting and was on the ground.

Both females are from Centralia.

Castillo was in Lewis County Superior Court this afternoon where defense attorney Mike Underwood said he wanted to push her trial date out farther into the future.

Underwood told the judge he needs to get an investigator to see if there were other witnesses, he needs time to sit down and go over all the materials and he hasn’t yet spoken with his client about the plea deal extended by prosecutors.

Judge James Lawler suggested instead the parties return to court next Thursday.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead declined outside the courtroom to say what the deal was.

Stewart was treated for four stab wounds to her stomach and one to each leg and was expected to make a full recovery. Castillo told police the Jan. 12 dispute was about her ex-boyfriend.

Chehalis police called the fight mutual combat and said after the arrest they couldn’t prove who owned the pair of brass knuckles that turned up in the restroom where the stabbing victim was tended to by friends.

Castillo has pleaded not guilty.
•••

For background, read:

• “Police: “Mutual combat” between two women in Saturday assault outside bar” from Monday January 14, 2013 at 12:19 p.m., here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Updated at 4:46 p.m.

OFFICERS DETAIN ONE FOLLOWING RUCKUS AT CITY HALL

• Police arrested 69-year-old John C. Baker yesterday morning after they were summoned upstairs at Centralia City Hall where Baker was reportedly causing a commotion in the city attorney’s office. Sgt. Stacy Denham said he wasn’t sure what Baker’s business at the office was but he was arrested for misdemeanor theft as when police asked him to step outside to discuss the matter, a stapler belonging to the city clerk was noticed in his pocket. Denham said one of Baker’s “parting shots” was he would return at 9 a.m. today to go “nose to nose” with the person in the office. Baker, a Centralia resident, was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

BRASS KNUCKLES PUT ALLEGED COMBATANT IN JAIL

• Centralia police officers called about 10:15 a.m. yesterday about two males fighting in an alley arrested one of them for possession of brass knuckles as well as disorderly conduct. Witnesses told police Terry Bryan, 33, a homeless person, attacked a 22-year-old acquaintance for no reason in the area of the 500 block of North Tower Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department. The victim did not wish to press charges for assault but Bryan was booked into the Lewis County Jail for the aforementioned offenses, according to police.

IN-PROGRESS HOMICIDE TUNS OUT TO BE PRANK

• Centralia police responded about 11:15 p.m. yesterday to the 100 block of Virginia Drive after getting a call from a child that a parent was being killed. The young girl reportedly called 911 several times but hung up before dispatchers could get more information. When officer checked the address given by the girl, they found only a family at home, no violence, according to the Centralia Police Department. They checked neighboring apartments as well without success until they discovered an 11-year-old girl who made the calls as a hoax, according to police. She was warned about the consequences for making a false report but not arrested because of her young age, according to police.

BURGLARIES IN CHEHALIS

• Chehalis police were called yesterday morning about repeated burglaries to a building across from the police department on the 100 block of Northwest Prindle Street.

• Chehalis police were called yesterday afternoon to an auto business on the 1600 block of North National Avenue about an attempted break-in and vandalism to a truck parked in the lot. A screen had been removed from the building and the window broken on the vehicle, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Someone punched holes in the water holding tank on a travel trailer parked at the 1300 block of Kresky Avenue in Chehalis, according to a report made to police about 1:30 p.m. yesterday.

ALLEGED GANG MEMBER DENIES BEATING TEEN

• Centralian Joshua Rhoades, purported to be an Surenos LVL gang member, pleaded not guilty this morning to second-degree assault involving a fight in downtown Centralia last Thursday night in which a 17-year-old boy was knocked unconscious.  Rhoades, 32, remains held in the Lewis County Jail as prosecutors included so-called aggravators in their charging, alleging it occurred with a deadly weapon – a knife – and was meant to improve Rhoades’ standing in a gang. Charging documents allege Rhoades and two others got out of a green Ford Taurus in the area of South Tower Avenue and Cherry Street and approached three young men and that Rhoades identified himself as LVL, asking the trio if they were rival “Nortenos”.  The victim, Dustin McLean, told police he replied “no” and then held his head while Rhoades and Rhoades’ friends kicked him in the head, according to charging documents. McLean also said Rhoades used the closed knife like brass knuckles to punch him in the face several times, charging documents allege. One of the young men, Caleb Capo, said when he jumped in to defend his friend, that 24-year-old Ashley Huner punched him twice, charging documents state. Police subsequently found and detained Rhoades, Huner, and 25-year-old  Michael J. Daily. A knife and two cell phones were found in Huner’s jacket pocket, but she said the coat belonged to Rhoades, according to the documents. Rhoades told police he was the one who got jumped, after three young men rushed his car. Rhoades, Daily and McLean all had facial injuries, police stated. This morning, a trial date for Rhoades was scheduled for the week of March 25 in Lewis County Superior Court.

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Joshua Rhoades, right, tells Judge James Lawler he is not guilty today in Lewis County Superior Court.

News brief: Tenino Fire Department loses leader to illness

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Tenino area fire department lost its longtime operations chief last week.

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Janet Lee Duncan
1953 – 2013

Janet Lee Duncan, 59, continued to work even as she dealt with cancer, but died on Jan. 29, according to Tina Vanderhoof, office administrator for Thurston County Fire District 12.

“It’s been three years, the battling,” Vanderhoof said. “We miss her terribly.”

Duncan was with the fire department more than two decades and lived in the Skookumchuck Valley even longer, with her husband, Robin Duncan who is the department’s chief.

She leaves behind also three sons, six grandchildren and other family.

A memorial service is set for 10 a.m. on Feb. 16 at the Tenino High School gymnasium.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Updated at 1:09 p.m.

LOOKING FOR A BEDTIME SNACK?

• A deputy was called about 10:30 p.m. yesterday to a home in Onalaska after a 28-year-old man walked into a stranger’s residence, strolled past the couple who live there and went into their kitchen. The husband escorted the man back outside where he waited for the deputy, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It happened at the 3000 block of Centralia-Alpha Road, according to the sheriff’s office. The intruder, who appeared to be under the influence of something, gave various names and was finally identified as Matthew E. Eastman, a homeless person who lives in the Chehalis area, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. The couple did not want to press any charges, but Eastman was arrested and booked for making a false statement to a public servant, Brown said.

DRILL ASSAULT SUSPECT FOUND, ARRESTED

• An Ashford man wanted for allegedly assaulted his roommate with a cordless drill was arrested yesterday when he returned to his home. Deputies were looking for him after they were called Monday night and told he beat his 27-year-old female roommate with a steel bar, threw firewood at her head and held a power drill to her throat as she shielded her 4-year-old daughter. Robert C. Sliger, 55, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree assault, according to the sheriff’s office.

JUVENILE ASSAULT

• Chehalis police were called just after 1 a.m. today to Greenhill School regarding a felony assault. Further details were not readily available.

BUSINESS BURGLARIZED IN CHEHALIS

• Chehalis police were called about 4:15 a.m. today about a burglary on Northwest Prindle Street. Someone had broken a window to get inside a business but some of the missing items were found in the bushes nearby, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Recovered was a vacuum cleaner, a hand truck, a radio and  mechanic’s “creeper”, Officer Linda Bailey said. The break-in is under investigation.

MECHANICS TOOLS MISSING IN CHEHALIS

• A deputy was called about noon yesterday to a “mechanic’s facility” on the 100 block of Ribelin Road in Chehalis where almost $2,200 worth of Matco, Craftsman and another brand of professional tools were missing from a large rolling tool box, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The victim, a 27-year-old man from Chehalis, said it occurred sometime since the previous day, according to the sheriff’s office.

SHOP BURGLARIZED IN VADER

• A 57-year-old Vader man called the sheriff’s office yesterday to report a guitar, a spotting scope and two bows were missing from his shop on the 800 block of State Route 506 in Vader. The theft occurred sometime during the previous five days, a deputy was told.

GARAGE BURGLARY IN CENTRALIA

• Centralia police arrested a 19-year-old Centralia resident yesterday in connection with a burglary to a garage discovered Monday at the 3000 block of Russell Road. Police say Dustin Z. Nickols at first blamed someone else but then admitted stealing the firearm reloading gear and selling it. The property was recovered and returned to its owner and Nickols was booked into the Lewis County Jail for theft, trafficking in stolen property and malicious prosecution, according to the Centralia Police Department.

MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MISSING

• A trumpet was reported stolen from the band room at Washington Elementary School in Centralia on Monday.

BOTCHED DINE AND DASH

• Chehalis police were called to Denny’s restaurant on Southwest Interstate Avenue just before 4 p.m. yesterday regarding a complaint a customer had left without paying for her meal, and had forgotten her driver’s license. The business wanted police to know what happened but chose not to pursue it, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

CHILD FOUND ALONE IN BANK

• Police were called to the 2000 block of Northeast Kresky Avenue in Chehalis at 2 p.m. on Monday where a 6-year-old boy in the bank’s lobby said his mother drove away without him. It was only minutes before the mother showed back up, according to the Chehalis Police Department. “It seems like somebody just lost track of their world,” detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said. “She turned around and came back to the credit union.”

SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOR CALL

• Chehalis police were called just after 6 p.m. Monday about a male sitting in the street and barking at a trash can. The caller said the skinny, bald individual appeared to be under the influence of something, according to police. An officer checking the area of South Market Boulevard and 18th Street couldn’t locate the subject, detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said.

PROWLING AROUND VEHICLES

• Someone rummaged through an unlocked vehicle parked at the 400 block of Northeast Washington Avenue in Chehalis, according to a report made to police on Monday morning.

• A police officer was called about 3 p.m. on Monday to the 300 block of  Northeast Washington Avenue in Chehalis where someone had entered a vehicle and gone through items in it, according to the Chehalis Police Department. There may have been some change missing, detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said.

• Chehalis police were called to the parking lot at Wal-Mart about 10:30 p.m. on Monday where a subject was watching what appeared to be someone trying to break into a truck. An officer contacted a 53-year-old Centralia man who was wanted on an outstanding warrant related to a driving offense in Whatcom County, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Gary D. Newton was booked into the Lewis County Jail, for the warrant, according to police.

VANDALISM

• Police were called Monday morning the Centralia Outlet Mall where someone had spray painted light blue apparent gang graffiti on the side of the Gymboree store.

DRYER FIRE

• A fire at a home Monday afternoon on Third Street in Chehalis appeared to be caused by something electrical, according to the Chehalis Fire Department. Crews called about 2:25 p.m. found the resident was using a clothes dryer when flames started near the outlet. They used a dry-chemical extinguisher to stop it, Chief Kelvin Johnson said. The damage was estimated at about $1,000, he said.

Centralia resident escapes injury when propane heater explodes inside house

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
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Crews prepare to help salvage belongings after a fire damaged the front portion of a Centralia house, to the right of the fire trucks, this afternoon.

Updated

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CENTRALIA – A malfunctioning space heater ignited a house fire in north Centralia today that claimed the lives of three cats and will temporarily displace the couple who live there.

Firefighters called just after 3 p.m. to Windsor Avenue just south of Fulton Street were told of reports of explosions and two people inside the single-story home, and then told it was only one person.

“When we got here, he was outside, thank goodness,”  Riverside Fire Authority Assistant Chief Mike Kytta said.

Crews then proceeded to attack the fire, he said.

The man who lives there had been starting up a propane heater when it emitted flames, according to Kytta said. He threw it out onto the porch, Kytta said.

He was uninjured, but treated by medics for minor smoke inhalation.

The couple had four cats, three of which did not survive, according to the fire department. One of them was administered aid and oxygen. A local veterinarian took the cat and other animals to board them. The Red Cross was summoned to assist the couple.

Crews were still on the scene after 5 p.m. preparing to check again for smoldering and help retrieve some belongings that weren’t ruined.

Assistant Chief and Fire Marshal Rick Mack said the bulk of the fire damage is in the front room, just inside the front door. He estimated the loss to the home and contents at $74,000.

Mack said the propane heater developed a failure in its supply line. It was hooked up to a 20-gallon cylinder of fuel, he said.

The heater wasn’t the kind he sees often, but similar to a type one might use to heat a garage or shop, he said.