Posts Tagged ‘By Sharyn L. Decker’

Fatal Centralia house fire is unexplainable

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The cause of the fire that killed a 94-year-old Centralia man over the weekend is likely to remain a mystery, according to authorities.

Robert Richard Zorn was found dead in his home Sunday morning of smoke inhalation, and a good-sized hole had burned through his dining room floor.

It had burned itself out and was cool when firefighters arrived, Riverside Fire Authority Assistant Chief Rick Mack said this morning.

“It just appears to be some tragic accident that we can’t define,” Mack said.

From the outside, the only evidence there had even been a fire at the house on the 1400 block of Johnson Road was the windows were sooted over, according to the fire department. Inside, there was heat and smoke damage to much of the single-story house.

The situation was discovered when one of Zorn’s brothers went to check on him Sunday morning. Investigators determined it had occurred sometime in the previous 24 hours, based on when Zorn was last seen.

Mack said the remains of a chair were found in the approximately 5-foot by 3-foot hole that burned through the carpet, the hardwood floor and the subfloor. It had self-extinguished for lack of oxygen, he said.

Investigators couldn’t find any reason electrical or otherwise for the fire, Mack said, and the cause will be listed as undetermined. Nothing was missing from the home to suggest an intruder or any foul play, he said.

There was evidence Zorn had tried to escape; he was found in a back room, Mack said.

An autopsy yesterday concluded he died from asphyxiation due to inhalation of toxic and combustible materials; the manner is accidental, according to Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, September 19th, 2011

THEFT

• A Centralia area woman reported yesterday that someone came into her home between 10:30 a.m. and noon while she was gone and stole three diamond necklaces, a Mac laptop computer, coins and as many as 40 other pieces of jewelry. A deputy called to the residence on the 3000 block on Zenkner Valley Road learned a neighbor holding a garage sale had seen a white SUV leaving the woman’s house, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The loss is estimated at more than $1,200.

• A 36-year-old Mossyrock area man returned home Friday night to discover a light on in his barn and almost $1,200 of tools stolen, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It happened sometime after 6:15 p.m. on the 200 block of Jarvis Road, according to the sheriff’s office. Among the missing items were a two-ton floor jack and three grinders, according to the sheriff’s office.

• Centralia police were called at midnight on Saturday to a burglary at the 1100 block of Prospect Avenue in Centralia. Somebody came inside and stole a purse, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police were called about 2:25 .m. Saturday to a bar on the 100 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia and told two purses had been stolen.

• Police were called about 6 p.m. on Friday to the 1100 block of J Street in Centralia where a female reportedly was seen leaving a home with unspecified property, according to Centralia police. A neighbor who confronted her recovered most of it and police are looking for the female, police reported.

• An X-Box, a Wii and a computer were stolen in a burglary at the 2900 block of Mount Vista Road in Centralia, according to a report made to police last Thursday afternoon.

• Three teenage boys were arrested for attempting to steal an ATV from the 1000 block of Mellen Street in Centralia on Thursday night, according to the Centralia Police Department.

MORE THEFT

• Chehalis police drawn to Sunbird Shopping Center on the 1600 block of North National Avenue just before 5 a.m. on Saturday arrested a 61-year-old man for allegedly pulling up a fence and taking tents and clothing. Gerald R. Loveless, a homeless person from the Chehalis and Centralia areas was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree burglary, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Centralia police were called to two different businesses on Thursday afternoon on the 1300 block of Lum Road about thefts. In both cases, the suspects were described as two black males and two females in an older red Jeep Cherokee, according to Centralia police.

• Police were called just before 9 a.m. yesterday to a report of a vehicle prowl on the 1300 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. A laptop computer was taken, according to police.

DRUGS

• Centralia police arrested a 40-year-old Centralia resident yesterday for possession of methamphetamine after contact just before noon at the 1000 block of North Tower Avenue. Toni L. Maier was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• A 23-year-old Onalaska man was arrested about 2 a.m. on Sunday after a trooper reportedly observed him kick and break an outdoor light at a church near Northwest Cascade Avenue and Prindle Street and then throw his cell phone through the window of a nearby building. Marc T. Vetter was angry and intoxicated, according to Chehalis police. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree malicious mischief, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• A deputy was called to the Peace Lutheran Church on the 2000 block of Bishop Road in Chehalis on Saturday after the discovery that someone had come inside and trashed several rooms and broke a window. It happened sometime between Friday and Saturday and the loss is estimated at about $400, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

CEMETERIAN JOHN BAKER ARRESTED TWICE IN TWO DAYS

John C. Baker, 68, of Centralia, was arrested about 4:30 p.m. on Thursday for violation of a protection order at the 1900 block of Johnson Road in Centralia, according to police. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail. The arrest came less than 24 hours after Baker’s arrest in the same area the day before for trespass, according to the Centralia Police Department.

News brief: Elderly man dead after small Centralia house fire

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Updated on Monday Sept. 19, 2011 at 11:04 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 94-year-old Centralia man is dead after fire broke out inside his home and then apparently self-extinguished before it was discovered this morning.

A family member who went to check on the man at the 1400 block of Johnson Road found the occupant dead inside and called 911 about 8:45 a.m. today, according to Riverside Fire Authority Chief Jim Walkowski.

The chief said they determined the fire had occurred sometime in the previous 24 hours, based on when the man was last seen.

The man is identified as Robert R. Zorn.

The cause is undetermined, but it’s not suspicious, Walkowski said.

He described it as a slow burning fire in the front portion of the single-story house, in the living room and dining room area.

From the outside, the only evidence there had been a fire was the windows were sooted over, he said.

It just ran out of fuel and went out, Walkowski said.

“It’s not very common, but we do see it every once in awhile,” Walkowski said.

Members of Riverside Fire Authority and the Centralia Police Department are investigating.

Walkowski said there was high heat and smoke damage to probably about 90 percent of the interior, and estimated the material loss at $15,000.

The death is apparently due to the fire, but an autopsy is expected, according to the chief.

There were smoke detectors in the house, but Walkowski took the opportunity to note the department strongly encourages detectors in each living area, including inside and outside each bedroom and on every level of a home.

News brief: Sheriff: Lacey man offers drugs in exchange for death of judge

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Lacey man was arrested yesterday after he allegedly solicited to kill a judge, offering an “eight-ball” of methamphetamine for the hit.

James R. Burnett, 27, was booked into the Thurston County Jail for  solicitation to commit first-degree murder, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

His target was District Court Judge Kalo Wilcox who had sentenced him to jail, according to the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin said Burnett was in the Nisqually Jail and  the investigation revealed he asked an inmate who was getting out to deliver a note with the offer “to my homies, or anybody who would do it.”

“He basically put a bounty on the judge’s head,” Elwin said.

An eight-ball is worth about $300, according to Elwin.

Law enforcement officers had not yet found the man who took the note as of yesterday afternoon. There’s no indication anyone at this point has tried to harm the judge, the sheriff’s office said in a news release yesterday.

Barnett was also arrested for other suspected crimes yesterday; felony harassment and two counts of making a bomb threat, in connection with calls to a bail bond business and a hotel, Elwin said.

Chehalis police officer resigns after allegations of misconduct

Friday, September 16th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Chehalis police officer resigned in the midst of investigations into possible misconduct during his assignment as a school resource officer involving a high school student.

Officer Jeff Elder quit the department last month, as his superiors were preparing to launch an internal investigation into whether he violated ethical standards and policies involving alleged sexual contact with a girl from W.F. West High School.

A criminal investigation was completed at the end of July and the prosecutor determined no crime occurred and no charge should be filed. If a crime did occur, the statute of limitations has passed, Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Colin Hayes wrote in a memo to the investigating detective.

The allegations came at the end of June from a now-22-year-old woman who disclosed incidents that occurred when she was a freshman and a sophomore, according to law enforcement incident reports.

Chehalis Police Chief Glenn Schaffer said the planned internal investigation won’t be done now.

“Jeff’s resignation was completely voluntary,” Schaffer said. “The reason we did not get into an administrative review is he resigned before it began.”

Schaffer said this week he wouldn’t speculate as to whether any department rules had been broken, as those answers could only come from a review.

The allegations came to light when the young woman reported to the Mason County Sheriff’s Office in June she may have been drugged and raped, and then also mentioned an unrelated incident, that years earlier she had an intimate encounter with a law enforcement officer – she said she was certain she was 14 or 15 years old when it happened, according to documents from the Mason County Sheriff’s Office.

They contacted the Chehalis Police Department, which in turn asked the Washington State Patrol to investigate.

State patrol detectives concluded the encounter in question, sexual intercourse, at Elder’s home occurred days after the girl’s 16th birthday in 2005.

According to case documents, the girl – whose identity is blacked out – had left W.F. West midway through her sophomore year and moved to Thurston County, but sometimes babysat for the Elder’s children.

She said she met and came to to know Elder when she was a freshman and he was the school resource officer.

In a transcript of her interview with a Mason County sheriff’s detective she describes Elder as tapping or grabbing her buttocks “often” at school (and once at the police department), sneaking her through the back into school dances and and one time bringing animal crackers to her when she was at home and suspended from school.

She also told of a time when she was at the Elder’s home with his wife and children when he allegedly pushed her against a wall and started “making out” with her.

She described the same day, across the street at a baseball field, the two had “wrestled” for her purse and he kissed her “really quick.”

She told the detective Elder gave her his old handcuffs as a gift.

He would also say to her a lot “You make me hard” and also, “You know, 16′s the age of consent”, she told the detective.

Elder, now 41, declined to comment.

Elder was the school resource officer until the end of March 2004, according to Schaffer, while she was a freshman.

She graduated from high school in 2007.

Elder had asked to step down at the same time he was reprimanded for taking two female students off campus so one could pick up her homework and making a traffic stop with the girls in his car, according to documents from the Chehalis Police Department.

He was suspended for two days. At the time, the high school principal told Elder’s superior she hoped Elder would still continue with that assignment.

The school resource officer works primarily at the high school as a resource for the school district and a representative for the  police department, interacting with the students, according to Schaffer. They’re there to teach and be a positive role model, he said.

Officer Troy Thornburg had been in the position the past several years, but last year because of budget issues, the program was put on hold.

Both Schaffer and Chehalis School District Superintendent Ed Rothlin this week gave both Thornburg and the program high praise and said if it weren’t for the finances, they would continue it and hope to in the future.

The young woman who made the allegations couldn’t be reached for an interview.

Also in the state patrol’s investigation is a letter from the young woman’s husband, that says he is deployed in Afghanistan, and asks them to write a letter to get him a compassionate reassignment to Joint Base Lewis McChord so he can be back by his wife’s side as quickly as possible during this time.

A sergeant of the investigating state patrol detective said yesterday he didn’t know if such a letter had been generated.

A sergeant at the Mason County Sheriff’s Office said the young woman’s other allegation – that she may have been drugged and raped in an unrelated case – was investigated and their prosecutor declined to file any charges.

Elder started with the police department in November 1994, was put on administrative leave July 7 and resigned Aug. 17.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

STRANGER IN SUV PEPPER SPRAYS WOMAN

• Police are investigating an incident in which a pedestrian was pepper sprayed by someone in an SUV who confronted them about 3 o’clock this morning on on the 900 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. The 54-year-old woman told police she was walking down the street when the vehicle pulled next to her and a 25-ish male in the passenger seat asked her for help, according to police. She walked closer, was sprayed and the man said something to effect of “How did it feel?” Officer Panco said. Panco said the vehicle was black, possibly a Ford Explorer, which then took off. Medics came and rinsed out the woman’s eyes, he said. Panco said the subject was described as heavy set with short dark hair and black-framed glasses.

TWO JAILED FOR SEEKING UNDERAGE SEX AT CENTRALIA MOTEL

• Centralia police arrested two men yesterday who showed up to a local motel with a promise of a 15-year-old prostitute. Lance A. Oppelt, 42, of Olympia, and Daniel L. Thomas, 28, of Lacey, were arrested separately and booked into the Lewis County Jail for commercial sexual abuse of a minor, according to the Centralia Police Department. Officer John Panco said Centralia detectives placed an escort ad on a website called backpage.com with photos of both an adult female and a  female the men were told was underage when they inquired. Panco said each man showed up with cash and that’s when they were arrested. The ad is no longer posted, but it could be again, Panco said. Police put together operation because they had been working with a person who could help them out, according to Panco. The location of the motel was not disclosed by police, as it agreed to assist if it wasn’t named by police, according to Panco.

CHEHALIS MAN ARRESTED WITH HEROIN, SCALES, CASH

• A 34-year-old Chehalis man was arrested last night for possession of drugs with intent to deliver after he was found passed out in a vehicle parked at Wal-Mart with a small child inside trying to wake him up. Found in his car was a hypodermic needle, suspected heroin, scales and other items including $400 cash that led to his arrest, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Joshua J. Rees was taken to the hospital and subsequently booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to Deputy Chief Randy Kaut.

ASSAULT

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported yesterday they referred the case of a 44-year-old Packwood man to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office for a possible charge of fourth-degree assault after investigating an incident that occurred at the Randle One-Stop on Sunday. A 32-year-old man and his family were returning home after river rafting when they observed an erratically driven truck and stopped to take down the license plate, according to the sheriff’s office. Words were exchanged and the 32-year-old was punched in the face three times, leaving him with a split lip and a cut on his nose, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. The victim subsequently identified the Packwood man from a photo, Brown said.

THEFT

• A deputy yesterday took a report of the theft of an estimated $8,000 of timber from property near the 1600 block of South Schueber Road in Chehalis. An employee discovered somebody had been cutting down cedar trees during the past year, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A Honda Accord stolen in Lewis County in 2009 was found on the property,

• Chehalis police were called about 6 p.m. yesterday about someone trying to use bank cards from a wallet stolen in a vehicle prowl. They were used at a local fast food restaurant and bank, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The wallet belonged to a 22-year-old Centralia man, police said.

• Centralia police were called just before 8:15 a.m. yesterday to the 2400 block of Cooks Hill Road about a purse stolen  from a vehicle.

TRESPASS

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported yesterday a 25-year-old Centralia man was arrested the day before for second-degree trespassing on property on the 400 block of Centralia-Alpha Road and trying to salvage tires that didn’t belong to him. Michael P. Miller was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported yesterday they asked prosecutors to file trespass charges against four teenagers suspected of going inside Onalaska High School’s gym on a recent Sunday, moving tables and skating. Images were captured on video surveillance cameras, according to the sheriff’s office.

• Police arrested John C. Baker, 68, of Centralia for criminal trespass about 9 p.m. last night in connection with the 1900 block of Johnson Road in Centralia. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department. He was released this afternoon. Further details were not readily available.

News brief: Mossyrock truck driver hurt in log truck crash

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 63-year-old Mossyrock man was hospitalized after he wrecked his log truck this morning in Kelso and then another log truck collided with his trailer.

Teddy D. Nelson, 63, was taken to St. John Medical Center in Longview with lacerations to his head, arm and a leg, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Troopers were called about 9:35 .m. to the scene near Interstate 5′ exit 36, according to the state patrol.

According to the state patrol, Nelson was southbound and exiting on westbound state Route 432 when his truck failed to negotiate the curve, crossed both lanes and ran into a concrete barrier. His load of logs spilled and his 1984 Kenworth came to rest on its side, according to the patrol.

A 2001 Kenworth log truck swerved to avoid the logs and hit Nelson’s trailer, the state patrol reported. That driver was reportedly unhurt and the damage to his truck was minor.

The investigating trooper reported Nelson was traveling too fast and had defective brakes. Nelson was cited for second-degree negligent driving and for not having insurance.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

‘EGGIN ON’ THE POLICE

• A 49-year-old man was jailed this morning after he reportedly drove through the Centralia Police Department parking lot, threw a carton of eggs at a patrol car and dared an officer to follow him. According to police, an officer turned on his light and sirens, got behind Steven M. Fullerton on West Main Street, but Fullerton refused to stop; instead traveling the speed limit with his flashers turned on. When Fullerton increased his speed to 60 mph on Harrison Avenue and ran a red light during the morning commute, the pursuit was terminated, according to the Centralia Police Department. A trooper stopped Fullerton on Interstate 5 near Maytown, and the 49-year-old was booked into the Lewis County Jail for eluding, according to police.

POLICE: ONE WOMAN CRIME SPREE

• Chehalis police yesterday arrested a 37-year-old woman after she allegedly stole a small purse from Safeway, shoplifted from at least two stores at the Twin City Town Center and prowled a car in between. Carrie A. Reynolds was found at Wal-Mart with various stolen goods, including a backpack and camera from the victim of the car prowl, according to detective Sgt. Rick McNamara. She was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree theft, he said. Reynolds told police she had walked away from the ABHS drug and alcohol treatment center in Chehalis, McNamara said.

THEFT

• Detectives followed up on an anonymous phone call yesterday and found two pickup trucks stolen from Centralia out at a residence on the 600 block of Shorey Road in Chehalis yesterday, according to the Centralia Police Department. The case is under investigation.

• A resident of the 400 block of South Iron Street in Centralia reported yesterday afternoon someone climbed through a window and stole prescription medications.

• A stereo and some money were taken from a vehicle on the 1000 block of Roosevelt Avenue in Centralia overnight, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police took a report yesterday that a car prowl occurred in the parking lot at the Twin City Town Center on Aug. 23. The 42-year-old man from Rochester said the doors had been locked but somebody stole more than $1,500 of valuables including his cell phone iPod, money and jewelry, according to the Chehalis.

DRUGS

• Police were called to Chehalis Middle School yesterday where a student had been detained for possession of marijuana. Further details were not readily available.

ASSAULT

• A 40-year-old Centralia man was arrested for second-degree assault after police were called to Providence Centralia Hospital yesterday and found his wife injured. Officers were told Roger L. Estep had repeatedly banged his wife’s head on something, according to Officer John Panco. Estep was arrested at the home on South Gold Street and booked into the Lewis County Jail, Panco said.

News brief: Three small residential fires doused yesterday afternoon

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A three-story apartment building in Centralia was evacuated after a cooking fire there late yesterday afternoon.

Riverside Fire Authority was called just before 5 p.m. to the building on the 500 block of North Iron Street.

“I think they were cooking french fries and got the oil extremely hot,” Firefighter-paramedic Jennifer Ternan said. “When they tossed the potatoes in, (the splatter) caught the cupboards and stove on fire.”

Nobody was injured, but the pair who live in the unit will have to stay somewhere else for a bit because of the smoke and water damage, Ternan said.

The Chehalis Fire Department was called less than two hours later to a kitchen fire on the 200 block of William Street.

Nobody was hurt there either, but the floor was scorched by a pan of burning grease, according to Capt. Ted McCarty.

And, a small electrical fire in a bathroom fan chased a little girl and her mother out of their home at Reese Lane west of Chehalis around 6:30 p.m.

Lewis County Fire Districts 6 and 5 were called to the duplex and extinguished that. Damage was minimal, District 6 Firefighter Mike Goodwillie said.

News brief: Two injured in two motorcycle wrecks Tuesday

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Winlock fire commissioner who works as a Toledo police officer is in fair condition this morning at Providence Centralia Hospital after a motorcycle accident yesterday.

Randy S. Pennington, 59, of Winlock, laid his motorcycle down when a pickup truck pulled out in front of him at Walnut and Front streets in Winlock yesterday morning, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Pennington suffered cuts and bruised hip, according to the state patrol. It happened about 8 a.m.

He was on his way to the Toledo Police Department on its 2001 Kawasaki KZ1000, according to Sgt. Ted DeHart. It sustained an estimated $1,000 damage, according to the state patrol.

A 23-year-old Winlock woman began to turn onto Walnut when she noticed the motorcycle and stopped in the roadway, forcing Pennington to swerve, the patrol reported.

No citations have been issued yet.

Also yesterday, a motorcycle wreck on state Route 6 near Chehalis sent another man to Providence.

Aid and troopers were called about 6:30 p.m. to the scene near Donahoe Road. The motorcyclist was wearing a helmet, DeHart said.

The motorcyclist was a 55-year-old Olympia resident, Byron K. Roberts. Other details were not readily available.

News brief: Body of fall victim recovered near Paradise

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 59-year-old Florida man taking pictures with his son in Mount Rainier National Park fell from a cliff above Christine Falls; his body was recovered yesterday, according to authorities from the park.

Roger A. Wagner fell about 40 feet around 7:15 p.m. on Monday, but it was too dark to get to him at that time, park spokesperson Kevin Bacher said.

The Ocala, Florida man’s body was recovered yesterday morning from where it had been swept about 100 yards downstream, Bacher said.

Christine Falls is off the Comet Falls trail near Paradise in the south central portion of the park.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011
2011.0912.Squirrel.Outage _2

A squirrel is electrocuted by Centralia City Light's main substation equipment. / Courtesy photo by Centralia City Light

CRITTER CAUSES WIDESPREAD ELECTRICAL OUTAGE IN CENTRALIA

• A large squirrel got into Centralia City Light’s main substation yesterday afternoon, knocking out power to an estimated 3,000 customers. It began with a loud “boom” about 4:15 p.m. and power was restored by about 5:45 p.m., according to General Manager Ed Williams. Firefighters had to rescue one employee at Cooks Hill Manor from an elevator stuck between floors. Williams said the incident took out about half the substation at North Tower Avenue and Sixth Street, equipment which serves about half the city. The squirrel did not survive.

THEFT

• Police were called just before 6 p.m. yesterday to the 100 block of West First Street in Centralia when a resident returned home after being gone a few minutes and found his front door open and groceries sitting on the floor. No intruder was found, according to Centralia police.

• Prescription medications were reported stolen from the 2500 block of Borst Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 3:45 a.m. today.

MYSTERY MAN JAILED

• Centralia police took a man to jail yesterday morning following a traffic stop in Borst Park in which he allegedly had a falsified trip permit – temporary vehicle license – in the rear window of his truck. The man, who police say is a 51-year-old from Fife, was booked for forgery, and officers will be using fingerprints to determine who he actually is, according to the Centralia Police Department. He presented two pieces of photo identification from two separate states, according to police. He was arrested under the name “Mickey John” also known as Mike White. The truck came to the attention of an officer because it was traveling the wrong way through the park, according to Officer John Panco.

News brief: Cigarette suspected in Grand Mound wrecking yard fire

Monday, September 12th, 2011
2011.0911.wreckyardfire_2

Brush, vehicles and a mobile home burned today in Grand Mound / Courtesy photo by Lanette Dyer

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A fire at a Grand Mound wrecking yard today spread to five acres and destroyed three vehicles as well as an unoccupied mobile home.

The cause is under investigation, but it ignited soon after a customer smoking a cigarette left the area, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority.

Firefighters called about 2:15 p.m. to the scene at 183rd Avenue Southwest and Case Road were joined by three neighboring departments as the wind kicked up, Fire Lt. Lanette Dyer said.

Some 20 firefighters were assisted by others from the Department of Natural Resources who brought a 10-person hand crew from Cedar Creek Corrections Center, Dyer said.

The flames were stopped right at a fence line where nine horses were pastured, she said. One southbound lane of Interstate 5 near milepost 90 was shut down for about an hour as some fire apparatus had to access it from the freeway.

They got it under control just after 3:30 p.m.

Dyer repeated what others in the fire service have been saying for the past week:

“The ground is real dry, we have real low humidity, and at this point, it’s the perfect conditions for huge fires,” she said.

Today’s fire at Newton’s Wrecking Yard burned a mobile home used for storage of items including family heirlooms and three of the business’s vehicles before creeping under the fence and consuming about two and a half acres of brush and trees, according to Dyer.

Nobody was injured.

It was just last Wednesday on the opposite side of Interstate 5 where nearly five acres of scotch broom were ignited by a spark from a lawn mower.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, September 12th, 2011

RIVER RAFTERS THREATENED BY GUN-WIELDING WOMAN

• A Chehalis woman who fired shots from a .38 caliber pistol because she was upset at several individuals floating down the Newaukum River was arrested yesterday afternoon. Deputies called about 5 p.m. to the 700 block of state Route 508 learned the rafters had left from the Guerrier Road bridge and were cussed at by Denise R. Snell, 52, of Chehalis, who was angry about people using the river and leaving garbage, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. Snell reportedly stood on the shore and threw rocks at the subjects, pointed the gun at them and then fired twice into a nearby field, according to the sheriff’s office. Snell was booked into the Lewis County Jail for felony harassment, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

DRIVER FLEES POLICE, GETS TASED

• A police pursuit just after midnight on Saturday from Napavine, up Interstate 5 and into Centralia ended with a 47-year-old man arrested for first and third-degree assaults. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said the driver nearly struck a Centralia officer and narrowly missed a parked patrol car before stopping at the Pepper Tree Motel and fleeing on foot. The driver also allegedly kept slamming on his brakes trying to get a pursuing officer to rear-end his vehicle, according to the sheriff’s office. Officers used a Taser on the subject as he fought with several officers, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Manuel E. Bolivar, 47, of Centralia, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to Brown. Bolivar was wanted for a warrant, Brown said.

THEFT

• Chehalis police were called about 12:30 a.m. on Saturday to the 1000 block of Southwest Cascade Avenue about a burglary in which jewelry and a video camera were missing.

• Chehalis police were called about 10:20 a.m. on Saturday after a pressure washer and tools were taken from a garage on the 100 block of Southwest First Street.

• Centralia police took two reports yesterday of computers stolen; one from the 1600 block of North Schueber Road and the other from a vehicle on the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue.

• A 24-year-old was arrested for possession of stolen property, trespassing and warrants on Saturday morning after a deputy was called to the 300 block of Kirkland Road outside Chehalis. A chainsaw found in the back of a vehicle was stolen, although David J. Eslick said he had bought it, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Eslick was booked into the Lewis County Jail and his companion, Rainy N. Hepburn, 29, was booked for trespassing, according to the sheriff’s office.

• A burglary to a garage on the 700 block of Shoen Road in Salkum was reported on Saturday, in which a motorcycle, two table saws, a new in-the-box Craftsman router, a generator and other items were stolen. It happened sometime between Aug. 10 and Saturday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The loss is estimated at $2,700.

• A 25-year-old Chehalis man reported he was out $2,850 after he tried to buy a vehicle on the Internet off Craigslist and twice wired money to the the supposed seller in Madrid, Spain, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. The vehicle was supposedly in Auburn, but after he sent the money via Western Union, the buyer didn’t ever get the vehicle, a deputy was told on Friday.

• A 1991 Lexus 400 was stolen Friday from the 6000 block of state Route 7 in Morton, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The vehicle has a license plate of 054 TQB, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Somebody got into the glove compartment of a vehicle parked near the Rails to Trails area on the 200 block of Highway 603 in Chehalis and stole a cell phone, and then apparently used it to post items on the victim’s Facebook page, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The theft occurred sometime between 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Friday, according to the sheriff’s office.

VANDALISM

• Somebody shoved the metal bleachers into the Pearl Street Pool in Centralia. The “kid prank” was discovered yesterday, according to Centralia police.

BARN BURNS NEAR MORTON

• An ember from a burn barrel charred about an acre of grass and ignited a barn yesterday yesterday in Morton. Firefighters called about 2:30 p.m. to the 800 block of Davis Lake Road extinguished the blaze but the building was destroyed, according to Fire Investigator Ted McCarty. A burn ban is still in place, McCarty said.

9-11 Remembrance, Southwest Washington Fairgrounds

Sunday, September 11th, 2011
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Sept. 11, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

“My question has always been, then, to myself, where do we get the men and women who do that?”

- Guest speaker Earl Johnson, of Poulsbo, telling of meeting New York City firefighters coming up the stairs into the World Trade Center as he and others descended after a passenger plane had crashed into the building on Sept. 11, 2001

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Photo by Bradd Reynolds / Copies of this image may be ordered from Reynoldsportraits@comcast.net

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Photo by Bradd Reynolds / Copies of this image may be ordered from Reynoldsportraits@comcast.net

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

BARN FIRE KILLS COW, CALF

• A calf and a cow perished when a barn went up in flames overnight in Dryad. Firefighters called about 1:15 a.m. to Leudinghaus Road found the building fully engulfed in fire, Lewis County Fire District 16 Chief Greg Feuchter said this morning. About 500 bales of dry hay had been put in the barn about a month ago, Feuchter said. Some 20 firefighters spent hours trying to make sure all the burning material was extinguished, he said. The cause is unknown, he said. There were no other casualties.

THEFT

• Police were called to the 900 block of B Street in Centralia just before 9 p.m. yesterday where a burglary was discovered. Someone had gone into the house from a second floor window and stole a rifle and other items, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Somebody forced open a back door on the 100 block of West First Street in Centralia and stole a video game, shoes and food, according to a report made to police about 2 p.m. yesterday.

• A 27-inch television, a Blu-ray player and DVDs were missing after a break-in at the 400 block of Courtland Street in Centralia. It was reported about 1:45 p.m. yesterday to the Centralia Police Department.

• Power tools and a metal pumpkin were stolen from the back of a pickup truck at the 1500 block of Lum Road in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 8:30 a.m. yesterday.

DRUGS

• Centralia police reported a 43-year-old man had to be subdued when he resisted arrest at the 500 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia on Friday afternoon. Dwayne J. Thomas, listed as transient, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for a warrant and possession of methamphetamine, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police took a report about 3:30 a.m. yesterday of a window smashed out of a vehicle on the 1100 block of South Tower Avenue.

ROLLER DERBY CASUALTY

• A roller derby event in Centralia was interrupted last night when 40-year-old female was taken away with a broken collar bone. Aid called about 8:30 p.m. to the Rollerdrome on West Maple Street transported the woman to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

News brief: 9-11 anniversary events in Littlerock, Southwest Washington Fairgrounds

Saturday, September 10th, 2011
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West Thurston Regional Fire Authority prepares for Sunday morning remembrance of 9-11 / Courtesy photo

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Three hundred forty-three American flags will provide a back drop for a ceremony tomorrow morning in Littlerock honoring the firefighters and law enforcement officers who lost their lives 10 years ago responding to terrorist attacks.

West Thurston Regional Fire Authority is hosting the event in remembrance of all who died that day.

The time is 8:30 a.m. The place is the Littlerock fire station at 10828 Littlerock Road SW, Olympia.

Also tomorrow a remembrance ceremony on the 10th anniversary of the events of Sept. 11, 2001 will be held at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds.

Gates open at 11:30 a.m. The 1 p.m. program is being organized by the Lewis County Fallen Heroes Committee and United Way.

The event at the fairgrounds is a benefit for the Fallen Heroes fund, a fund that assists the families of fallen heroes in Lewis County and throughout the state.

Deputies on the prowl for locked, unlocked cars

Friday, September 9th, 2011
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Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown looks in a car at the Toledo park and ride to see if any valuables are laying in plain view.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – When you take advantage of the sunshine this weekend to leave your car behind and put the boat in the water or go for a walk on a public trail, you might return to find you’ve been the victim of a vehicle prowl.

Or not.

It’s also possible you’ll discover a green postcard-sized note on your windshield indicating someone has checked to see if your doors were locked.

Lewis County sheriff’s deputies and volunteers will be providing extra patrolling around places where most car break-ins have been reported.

Trail heads and boat launches as well park and rides are among those locations targeted.

Sheriff Steve Mansfield’s new program which began this week involves leaving a card either congratulating the driver for locking up, or reminding them they’ve left themselves vulnerable to a theft.

The idea is to encourage folks to lock their doors every time they park. A lot of this kind of crime is easily preventable, according to the sheriff’s office.

Today, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown was out and about, trying to get a sense of what’s out there.

At the Blue Creek Boat Launch parking lot off Spencer Road south of Ethel, she peered into nine vehicles and checked their doors.

All but one were locked, although a fishing pole lay visible on the back seat of one of them.

Thieves will go to the trouble of breaking a window even for something like a fishing pole, Brown said.

More and more, they’re seeing people leave devices like iPods, GPS units and cell phones in plain view inside their cars, she said.

“I think my biggest hope is thieves will come in the area and see these (green cards) and know we’re actually working the area,” she said.

One location with more problems than most is the  Rails to Trails parking area off Highway 603, south of state Route 6, according to Brown.

“Almost all the car prowls we’ve had (there) have been unlocked,” Brown said. “Only a couple of them we had windows broken.”

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Chief Brown leaves a card on a vehicle at the Blue Creek Boat Launch notifying the driver the area was checked and congratulating them for locking their doors.