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Monday, July 05, 2004 - Page updated at 12:37 A.M.

Local Digest
Owl's chicken dinner sets off a wildfire

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An owl clutching a chicken alighted on a power line, sparking another wildfire near Chelan yesterday.

"Evidently the owl either found a chicken, or stole a chicken from a farmer, and had taken it and landed on a power line or a power pole," said Marc Hollen, spokesman for the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.

"Between the two of them, something shorted out the line and started a fire."

Fire investigators determined the cause of the fire when they found the birds' charred remains.

Fire officials weren't sure precisely when the Beebe Bridge Fire three miles east of Chelan started in the grass and sage, but by noon yesterday it had ballooned to 600 acres. Fire crews were unable to get to the fire early yesterday but were building firebreaks to prevent it from spreading to nearby houses.

Meanwhile, more than 450 firefighters still had not contained the Pot Peak Fire on the south side of Lake Chelan, which had spread to 2,415 acres yesterday.

The blaze was burning in dried brush and drought-weakened pine trees on steep, rugged terrain 15 miles west of Chelan. Fire crews were trying to burn areas ahead of the fire yesterday so flames would peter out before reaching homes and outbuildings in nearby Twenty Five Mile Creek.

Firefighters expected to contain a 5,300-acre fire on the Colville Indian Reservation in Eastern Washington by today.


Wounded man, 23, found lying on ground

A 23-year-old man was wounded in a shooting early yesterday outside an apartment complex in Kent.
Kent police found the man lying on the ground outside the apartments in the 1600 block of Smith Street about 12:45 a.m. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center, but his wound wasn't believed to be life-threatening, police said. Police had no suspects.


Stove fire causes $200,000 in damage

An unattended stove started a fire that caused $200,000 in damage Saturday afternoon to a split-level home in the Ardmore neighborhood near Interlake High School.

No one was injured after a resident of the home in the 2400 block of 165th Place Northeast accidentally turned on the wrong burner, igniting items on the stove, the Bellevue Fire Department reported.

Thirty-four firefighters battled flames that leaped 15 feet from second-story windows. Fire damaged the kitchen, dining area, living room and front entry. Smoke and water damage was extensive throughout the home.

The American Red Cross was providing temporary shelter to the six residents of the home, who did not have insurance. <


Bicycle-motorcycle collision kills cyclist

A 26-year-old cyclist died yesterday when his bike collided with a motorcycle on Highway 530.

The Washington State Patrol said Matthew L. Britt, of Darrington, was traveling westbound near the border of Snohomish and Skagit counties at about 6:15 p.m. when his bicycle turned in front of a motorcycle driven by Gary Boggs of Concrete.

Boggs and a passenger suffered minor injuries.


Chokehold homicide results in probation

A man who killed a nightclub customer with a chokehold has been sentenced to five years on probation after pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide.

Tony Marks, 43, was working as a bouncer at the New Copper Penny when he used the hold on Nafatali Tafiot Rusia, 23, during a fight on Nov. 16, 2003.

When police arrived, they handcuffed Rusia and later discovered he was not breathing. An autopsy determined that Rusia died of asphyxiation due to manual strangulation.

Marks had faced up to five years in prison. But prosecutors said Marks did not have a criminal history and there was evidence that he had acted in self-defense.

Before Marks was sentenced, Rusia's family addressed the court. Jean Rusia, the victim's widow, wept and said her grief was impossible to put into words. "I struggle daily finding a reason to live," she said.

Marks' attorney, D. Scott Upham, said Marks deeply regretted the homicide.

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