Lights & Sirens

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Archives: Feb. 2011


Explosion reported at Pierce Transit center; suggested evacuations

An explosion at a Pierce Transit facility in Lakewood has prompted a 2nd alarm fire response from surrounding agencies and a suggested evacuation for residents within a quarter mile radius.

About 40 firefighters from Lakewood, University Place and Central Pierce Fire and Rescue are trying to douse the flames, which were reported just after 5 p.m. at the center at 96th and South Tacoma Way.

“It appears to be compressed natural gas,” said Pierce Transit spokesman Lind Simonsen.

Puget Sound Energy is attempting to shut off the gas line.

“Upon arrival, firefighters saw lots of fire, had to get back

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Trial underway for first defendant in fatal Edgewood home-invasion robbery tied to Craigslist

Edgewood resident James Sanders’ last moments alive were “a nightmare that came to life,” a Pierce County deputy prosecutor told a jury this afternoon.

Armed intruders were inside his home, terrorizing his wife and children while he lay bound and helpless on his kitchen floor, deputy prosecutor Mary Robnett told jurors.

One of those intruders, most likely defendant Kiyoshi Higashi, shot Sanders three times when the 43-year-old man broke free of the plastic ties used to bind him, Robnett said during her opening statement in Higashi’s first-degree murder trial.

“He was murdered in cold blood, in his own home, in front of his wife who’d been tied up and beaten and in front of his children who’d been held at gunpoint and terrorized,” the deputy prosecutor said.

Higashi, 23, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree robbery, two counts of second-degree assault and one count of first-degree burglary.

He is the first of four defendants to go to trial in the case, which drew national attention.

Prosecutors contend Higashi and three others went to Sanders’ home April 28, 2010, intent on robbing him. They allegedly picked his house after seeing a ring and other jewelry he’d advertised on Craigslist, according to court records.

Higashi has admitted taking part in the robbery but denied shooting Sanders. He blames one of the other people who were with him that night.

His defense attorney, Michael Jordan, did not make an opening statement today. Jordan reserved his right to make an opening statement when the defense begins its case.

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Kent officer fired for allegedly stealing from inmates

A Kent corrections officer has been fired after an investigation determined he was stealing money from inmate property lockers, according to the Kent Police Department.

Detectives identified Michael Pickens, 42, who has worked for the Kent City Jail for 3 ½ years, as a suspect after allegations surfaced in September that someone was taking cash from lockers used to store personal belongings for inmates while they are incarcerated.

Video surveillance footage shows Pickens opening inmate lockers and removing cash, according to the department.

Tukwila police conducted a criminal investigation after Kent police finished their internal investigation. The criminal investigation wrapped

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Man killed in Orting house fire identified

An Orting man who died Sunday morning while trying to save his elderly mother from their burning home was identified today as 46-year-old Shane York.

After York realized their home in the 17900 block of Pioneer Way East (Highway 162) was ablaze about 7 a.m., he ran outside to alert neighbors and then returned to the burning house in an effort to rescue his mom.

Neighbors found and saved the woman but York died in the blaze.

The cause of the fire was electrical.

York apparently moved an electric hospital bed for his mother into the living room Saturday.


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Car and Tacoma school bus collide; no students injured

A car and a Tacoma School District bus with 25 Mount Tahoma High School students aboard collided about 10 minutes ago on South Tyler Street, the Tacoma FIre Department reports.

Firefighters determined no one was injured on the bus or in the car in the collision that occurred in the 8200 block of South Tyler Street.

School District spokesman Dan Voelpel said transportation officials reported that a car swerved to miss a cat, and the bus and car collided.

Voelpel said they are bringing another bus to the scene to pick up the students.


Slide closes I-90 at Snoqualmie Pass in both directions

A snow slide has closed Snoqualmie Pass in  both directions from milepost 34 near North Bend to milepost 106 near Ellensburg.

The slide occurred near milepost 51 blocking the westbound  lanes. Washington State Patrol and Washington State Department of Transportation crews are on scene working to clear the roadway.

The slide occurred about 10:30 a.m.


All but Bridge to the Beach now open at Chambers Creek properties

Everything at Pierce County’s Chambers Creek properties and recreation area is now open except the Bridge to the Beach, the county said today.

Operations at the golf course and popular walking, jogging and biking trails in University Place were disrupted following a train derailment along the waterfront on Saturday.

Here’s the press release from Pierce County:

Feb. 28, 2011

Most of Chambers Creek Properties reopens to the public
With one exception, Pierce County’s popular Chambers Creek Properties returned to normal operations Monday, Feb. 28, following disruptions caused by

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