A fire that did substantial damage to a condemned home in North Kelso is being investigated as an arson. Fire crews were called to 404 Burcham Street shortly after 6 am yesterday, when flames were seen coming from the house. The home had been condemned by the city in January, after damage caused by a slide. The home’s tenant was ordered to move out after a slope in the rear of the home started slumping, undermining the deck and the rear of the house. Fire crews from Cowlitz 2 arrived and spent a few minutes assessing the safety of the house, then initiated an aggressive attack. They got the fire out in short order. As they investigated the scene, it was determined that the fire had started in a bedroom, and they say “pour patterns” were found in a couple of places. That indicates that some sort of accelerant was used, which makes the fire an arson. The home’s owner, Merrill Swanson, says that his insurance on the house was cancelled in April, so the loss is not covered. So far, no suspects have been identified.
Archive | May, 2011
A 15 year-old Longview boy is under arrest on a second-degree domestic violence assault charge, after he allegedly punched his 49 year-old father, and also used a knife to threaten him. Longview Police were called to an apartment in the 1900 block of Dorothy a little before 9 am; the teen’s parents claim that the boy hit his father, then also tried to stab him. The parents escaped from the apartment, while the teen allegedly used a couch to block the door. Tactical resources were brought to the scene, and after about an hour after the first call, Officers used a metal ram to bust down the door and get inside. The 15 year-old was quickly arrested after that, and is now being held in the Juvenile Services Center. The father was treated for a minor injury to his head.
Longview Police say that they’ve identified a possible suspect in a strong-arm robbery reported last night in the 800 block of Hudson. Around a quarter to 8 pm, a man called 911, claiming that someone had stolen his money and then ran toward downtown. A short time later, a man approached a Deputy a few blocks away, saying that he’d “burned a baby raper for $20.” It wasn’t known at that time that the man was connected to the previous theft. LPD continued to check the area, and was eventually able to identify a possible suspect. That person is still at large.
Deputies say that they’ve identified a man who reportedly has been involved in burglaries of vacation homes up at the end of the Kalama River Road. Deputies were were first called to the far end of the road at about 10 pm, when a burglary was discovered at a summer house up near the 8100 line. It was also determined that a pickup had been stolen from the home. Later in the evening, that truck was seen near Kalama, and was involved in a high-speed chase that covered the back roads between Kalama and Woodland. The suspect was able to elude law enforcement, but the truck was eventually recovered. Authorities eventually found the suspect’s pickup, and impounded that vehicle. The suspect has been identified as a Kalama-area resident, but he hasn’t been located as of yet.
Longview Fire crews responded to the Longview Fibre Paper and Packaging millsite yesterday morning, after the facility suffered a major internal electrical problem. That was reported shortly after 11 am, shutting down the main electrical supply. Power to most of the mill was lost, along with the water supply pumps. Fire crews responded to provide backup to the mill’s safety crew, which did have to deal with a small boiler fire. It took about an hour to get the power restored, followed by the time needed to re-start the mill processes. The cause of the outage hasn’t been disclosed.
Repairs are complete on a power outage that hit the Terry-Taylor area last night, also affecting Story Field and the NWAACC baseball tournament. At about 10:20 pm, some sort of animal took a wrong step on some overhead lines in the area of Pacific Way and Taylor Avenue, causing a short circuit and an explosion. That explosion damaged nearby equipment, causing a line to fail. 102 Cowlitz PUD customers were affected by the outage; it also caused the field lights at Story Field to flicker. Play was stopped as a precaution, as it was first thought that it may have been caused by lightning. Per national rules, the game between LCC and Yakima Valley was suspended for at least a half-hour, to confirm that no other lightning was coming into the area. The game resumed around 10:45 pm, while repairs to the affected area weren’t complete until 1:38 am.
The possible sale of the building that’s now used as the Longview Square Dance Center is moving ahead, with the City of Longview also pledging to work with the Square Dance group to find them another place to do-si-do. At last night’s City Council meeting, City Manager Bob Gregory says that he can’t make any guarantees, but he does pledge to try and find another place for the group. PNE Construction is offering $307,000 for the building now used by the Square Dancers, nearly double its assessed value. PNE says that they’d like to use the building and surrounding area for storage of trucks, equipment, materials and as a “lay-down yard.” They say that the storage will benefit several local businesses. After hearing concerns from the dancers, the City Council is urging that their needs be heard and accommodated; they’re also asking that steps be taken to try and preserve the special “floating floor” that’s in the building. Gregory says that they’ll do what they can, even consulting with PNE to see how the floor might be disassembled and moved. Provisions are also being made to keep the building up for two large events planned for this summer and early fall. It’s planned that the deal will close at the end of September, with PNE taking possession on November first.
The Longview City Council is directing staff to move ahead with a full closure of the Civic Center Circle in late August and early September, making the first improvements connected to the R. A. Long Park and Civic Center Master Plan. Some Council members raised concerns about traffic impacts and the loss of parking in that area, but Mayor Kurt Anagnostou says that it’s time to take the steps necessary to make that area safer. The plan was approved on a 4-2 vote, with Dennis Weber and Don Jensen voting against the proposal. It’s now planned that the Civic Center Circle will be closed to traffic between August 29th and September 18th. During that time, the Circle will be converted to a true roundabout, with three lanes of traffic traveling in a counter-clockwise direction. The yield signs inside the circle will be removed. Traffic entering the circle will be required to yield to cars already in the circle. Four raised crosswalks with “bulb-outs” will be installed, intended to both help improve pedestrian safety and to serve as “speed humps” to slow traffic in the circle. The total cost of the project is put at about $421,000.
You’re invited to the Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue Main Station in Kelso at noon today, as dedication ceremonies for their permanent 9/11 memorial are held. Today’s ceremonies will involve the installation of the recently-acquired piece of steel from the Twin Towers. The steel was sent from the Port Authority of New Jersey, at the request of the Fire Science class that helped to build the permanent memorial. all are invited to take part in today’s commemoration.
They had to dodge the raindrops and deal with a power outage, but all four games got played on the opening day of the NWAACC baseball tourney at Story Field. LCC’s Jeff Ames struck out 15 in leading the Red Devils to a 9-2 win over Yakima. They play in the quarterfinals against Bellevue, set for 7:35 pm tonight…..The M’s get back into action tonight, opening up a three-game series against the NY Yankees, with rookie phenom Michael Pineda going to the hill, KLOG 6 pm…..Kelso’s Jonathon Wishard went 14’9” to win the pole vault at the 3A state track meet, while Lassie Kiana Davis went 5’2” to finish 6th in the high jump. MM’s Nate Starr also finished 7th in the 3200 at the 2A meet, running 9:29.48. All of the state meets finish up continue today and tomorrow.