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Candle ignites blaze in mobile home

A candle is being blamed for a Sunday evening fire that severely damaged a Post Falls mobile home.

Kootenai County Fire and Rescue responded to 1372 W. Caboose Court about 8:10 p.m., according to a news release.

The owner told fire officials he lighted a candle in his bedroom and went outside for a few moments. When he went back inside, he saw smoke and fire. Nobody was injured, but damage – including smoke damage throughout the home – was estimated at $10,000, the release said.

An investigation revealed items close to the candle caught fire. There were no working smoke detectors in the home, the release said.

Jim Lyon, the department’s public education specialist, said in the release that candles should be at least 12 inches from combustible materials in a nonflammable container and out of reach of children and pets.


Off-duty sergeant holds theft suspect

An off-duty Kootenai County jail sergeant held a suspected cigarette thief until officers arrived at a Hayden gas station early Friday.

Sgt. Rafael Merrill told a sheriff’s deputy he was pumping gas when he saw a man walk into the Hayden Jifi Stop, reach behind the counter and take a pack of cigarettes. Merrill said he confronted the man, later identified by police as 20-year-old Anthony Berry, in the parking lot and placed him under arrest.

The store clerk said she was in the back room, heard the door buzzer and didn’t see anyone when she came to the counter, the report said.

Berry was charged with petit theft Monday and battery for allegedly pulling Merrill’s glasses off his face.

Magistrate Robert Burton released Berry on his own recognizance.

Spokane Valley

Rescued dog finds new home in Idaho

He’s not Stinky anymore.

The black Lab puppy who was buried under a few feet of dirt in a Spokane Valley backyard is now spending his days in Hayden with a new owner. He also has a new name: Chance.

The dog was adopted Friday afternoon, said Nancy Hill, director of Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service.

No one has come forward with information about who could have buried the dog, Hill said.

The case remains under investigation.


Man gets 20 years for relative’s death

A Spokane man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for brutally killing his great-aunt.

Robert Mattausch, 50, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in connection with the November killing of 89-year-old Opal Moreland. On Friday, Superior Court Judge sentenced Mattausch to 240 months in prison minus the 146 days he has spent in jail since his arrest, according to court records.

Mattausch told Spokane police that on Nov. 22, he entered his great-aunt’s home at 6707 N. Drumheller St. with a key and struck her in the head with a chunk of concrete as Moreland was typing on her computer.

He told detectives that he took Moreland into her basement, where he bound her with duct tape before stabbing her to death, according to court records.

Mattausch told Detective Tim Madsen he then drove to Lewiston to evade capture.

But after getting some sleep, Mattausch returned to Spokane on the evening of Nov. 23 and turned himself in to authorities, Madsen wrote in court records.

Work on Trent could delay drivers

A Trent Avenue widening project could delay motorists beginning Wednesday in the vicinity of Hamilton Street.

The $260,000 project to widen Trent from Hogan to Erie streets will also make the left-turn lane longer.

The westbound Interstate 90 on-ramp at Hamilton will be closed Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The rest of the project will take about six weeks and involve closing the curb lanes on Trent at times.

In another traffic project, Seventh Avenue is closed between Bernard and McClellan streets and traffic restrictions are in place on Bernard between Seventh and Eighth. The sewer and water work there will continue most of the week.

– Compiled from staff reports


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