Washington News

Friday, June 11, 2021

WA Notify saved lives, officials say

The Washington State Department of Health reported Wednesday that its COVID-19 exposure notification tool saved an estimated 30-120 lives and likely prevented about 6,000 cases during its first four months while in use. Researchers at the University of Washington and the DOH released the results on Monday after conducting a modeling study of the tool. Since Nov. 30, 2020, more than 2 million people have enabled WA Notify since it launched, according to a release. The tool sends alerts to people who could have been exposed to the virus. “The goal for exposure notification is to help more people get the information and care they need more quickly so they can avoid spreading COVID-19 to others,” said Lacy Fehrenbach, deputy secretary of COVID-19 Response at DOH.
KIRO-TV CBS 7 Seattle

NTSB releases report on Custer oil-train derailment

The National Transportation Safety Board has released its report regarding an oil-train derailment and fire in Custer, Wash. NTSB officials said Thursday their report focused solely on how the derailed tank cars performed in the crash. Ten tank cars derailed and five caught fire in Custer on Dec. 22. No injuries were reported. But the NTSB report said dozens were evacuated and about 29,000 gallons of crude oil were discharged. The report said nine of the 10 derailed cars had been enhanced to industry standards. Earlier this week, KUOW reported that a railroad union official called the derailment sabotage. The FBI has yet to release the results of its investigation.
KOMO-TV ABC 4 Seattle

2020 wildfires and smoke damage cost Woodinville winery its entire vintage release

A renowned winery in Washington announced it will not release a 2020 vintage due to smoke damage. The owners of Betz Family Winery in Woodinville said their vineyards were impacted by the Evans Canyon wildfires last September. "There is just nothing and it’s extremely sad. And we’ll be honest, we certainly hoped, we tried, we prayed, we hoped, but it just wasn’t meant to be," said Bridgit Griessel, owner and president of Betz Family Winery. "It’s devastating for all of us." She said smoke and ash blanketed their vineyards in the Yakima Valley, Columbia Valley and Walla Walla Valley. After picking the fine wine grapes, Griessel said their consulting winemakers immediately detected smoke taint.
KCPQ-TV FOX 13 Seattle

Naches: Autopsy for man found burned in a small brush fire finds no evidence of foul play

An autopsy for the man found dead, his body burned in a small brush fire in Naches has found no evidence of foul play, like a bullet or stab wound. The medical examiner says there's no clear cause of death yet. The county coroner says a toxicology report will be able to determine whether or not the man died from drugs or alcohol, or if the fire is what killed him. Of course, that still leaves the mystery of how the fire started right where the man was found, near the Windy Point campground on Monday. Detectives say they're unable to determine how the fire started, but they didn't find any sign of accelerant. Officers are hoping someone comes forward saying they know a man who's 5'5" and about 170 pounds who's been missing for several days now. "Could be anything. Maybe he was trying to smoke. Maybe he was feeling suicidal, maybe drugs were involved.
KIMA-TV CBS/CW+ 29 Yakima

Spokane firefighters add new vehicles to their fleet for the summer

Spokane Fire District 9 is adding a new Utility Terrain Vehicle or UTV to its fleet, which is good news considering the UTV’s are a shared resource. "One of them is down in Oregon right now at a wildland fire, and it's a great tool for wildland firefighters because if you have an injury where it's hard to get to we can provide quick medical access to those folks and get them out of there," said Richy Harrod, District 9 Division Chief. But UTV’s aren't solely used during wildfire season, in fact they are used on a regular basis. "They are almost used weekly, you know on their regular calls for folks that are out in the trees where it’s hard to get to, the UTV’s provide quick access for the paramedics and a way to get folks out," Harrod said.
KHQ-TV NBC 6 Spokane

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Clallam County: Man sprays gas, sets fire at pumps, employee jumps into action

VIDEO: A Sequim man is facing arson, assault and other charges after Clallam County officials say he sprayed gasoline on a van, gas pumps and witnesses and then set a fire. The whole incident captured on surveillance video shows the actions of a quick-thinking employee, who prevented what deputies said could have been a catastrophic event. Deputies were called to the Longhouse Market and Deli at 271020 Highway 101 in Blyn around 9:20 a.m. on June 1 after getting a 911 call that someone was drenching cars in gasoline at the gas pumps and threatening to set them on fire. Dispatchers then told deputies, who were on their way to the scene, that the suspect, later identified as 40-year-old David S. Johnson, had set a van on fire before stealing a truck and fleeing east on Highway 101 toward Jefferson County.
KIRO-TV CBS 7 Seattle

Structures lost to fire near Soap Lake

It took firefighters two hours to contain a blaze that burned on multiple properties and torched multiple structures on Wednesday in the Soap Lake area. Firefighters say the blaze at 915 Road 19 NE was first called out at 2:29 p.m. Authorities say the fire started in the backyard of a home, but the cause remains under investigation. The fast-moving fire destroyed a five-bedroom home, burned two RVs, a shed, and a boat before jumping across SR 17 into an alfalfa field. In total, the blaze burned less than an acre, but was destructive in the confined space. Firefighters were able to contain and control the fire at around 4:30 p.m. and fully extinguished it just before 6:30 p.m. No one was hurt

Eastern Washington in first-of-its-kind drought advisory with dry conditions across US

Much of the Western U.S. is in a drought right now, and after one of the driest springs in 100 years, Eastern Washington is no exception, with the state having issued a drought advisory for everywhere east of the Cascades and south of the Puget Sound. The first of its kind ever issued in Washington, the drought advisory warns people that conditions are ripe for a drought, and that they should take precautions, such as being conservative with water usage. While the Seattle area is wet enough, “the east side of the mountains has been extraordinarily dry, so we really still have some pretty serious conditions on the Eastside in terms of drought,” said Jeff Marti, water resources planner and drought coordinator for the Department of Ecology.
KIRO-TV CBS 7 Seattle

Update: Cause of massive fire at vacant building near Seattle Center still unknown

Seattle firefighters say there was evidence of “transient activity" before a massive fire broke out inside a vacant building near Seattle Center Tuesday. The building used to be a dance club years ago before shutting down, and police say they've gotten calls about squatters in the past. Firefighters said the cause has been ruled as ‘undetermined’ because it has been too dangerous for them to go inside the building. As fire investigators dig for answers into what sparked a fire at a notorious vacant building on Harrison Street, neighbors said they're not surprised it happened in the first place. “I don’t think it will be very missed,” said Dexter Rothschild who works in the area. "They probably should burn it down because I haven’t seen any productivity from this building.”
KOMO-TV ABC 4 Seattle

Refrigerator fire ignites propane tank and burns down Burien home, police say

An “aging” refrigerator caught fire and sparked a chain reaction that destroyed a home, Washington police said. The Burien home is a “complete loss” after the fridge malfunctioned and caught fire in the garage around 6:20 a.m. May 30, according to a news release the King County Sheriff’s Office posted Tuesday. The flame ignited a propane tank that was being used to keep the refrigerator’s door closed and “torched the SUV parked nearby,” the sheriff’s office said. “The good news is the owner and his two dogs escaped unharmed,” according to the sheriff’s office. Authorities warned residents that storing older refrigerators in uninsulated garages increases the likelihood of incidents like this. “Aging compressors and other components are no longer able to withstand the swings in temperatures we experience in the Northwest,” the sheriff’s office said.
Tacoma News Tribune - Metered Site

Seattle is the first major US city to fully vaccinate 70% of residents 12 and up against COVID-19

Seattle is the first major American city to fully vaccinate at least 70% of residents 12 and older, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Wednesday. Seattle surpassed San Francisco, which led the country in vaccinations. Currently, 78% of Seattle's population 12 years old and up has at least begun the vaccination process. “When we launched our vaccination effort earlier this year, I said that I wanted Seattle to become the first major American city to fully vaccinate 70% of its residents. Today, I am incredibly proud that we have reached that goal,” Durkan said. “Now that we have reached community protection, we can lead the nation in safely reopening and recovering in earnest," she added. To date, the city has administered more than 249,000 vaccinations -- or more than 131,000 people.
KING-TV NBC 5 Seattle

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