Thirteen volunteers from Spokane were among the Red Cross teams waiting to help with the fallout from Hurricane Gustav on Monday – and hoping the New Orleans levees held.
“We’re just keeping our fingers crossed,” said Peggy Crowder, who was volunteering at a shelter in Shreveport, La. “These poor people down here need a break.”
The Spokane volunteers are stationed from Alabama to New Orleans to Texas, said spokesman Thomas Stredwick. They are helping with meals, clothing and other basics needed by the thousands of people evacuated throughout the region.
Crowder, 61, of Spokane, plans at the shelter in Shreveport, where the biggest potential danger is tornadoes on the edge of the storm. She’s been volunteering with the Red Cross since Katrina and has worked on four “DRs,” or disaster relief efforts.
“I joined right after Katrina – in fact, that’s what motivated me to sign up,” she said.
She said shelters are packed and evacuation planning and responses have been smoother than the last storm.
“People took it seriously this time,” she said. “They got out.”
Military confirms soldier’s death
The Department of Defense confirmed Monday that a soldier from Spokane was killed in Iraq a week ago.
Spc. Carlo E. Alfonso, 23, died last Tuesday after his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device in Sadr City, the Pentagon said.
Alfonso was assigned to the 40th Engineer Battalion, 2d Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, based in Baumholder, Germany.
Alfonso’s wife, Rose Marie Alfonso, learned of her husband’s death last week. On Saturday she told The Spokesman-Review that he died on the couple’s eight-month wedding anniversary.
Carlo Alfonso moved to Spokane from the Philippines in 1997, and he and Rose Marie met as students at West Valley High School. They have a 2-year-old son, Kyle.
Police arrest wanted car theft suspect
Spokane police have arrested a suspected car thief wanted in three counties.
The police officer who arrested 36-year-old Jon R. Fischer along the 1000 block of East Providence Avenue on Monday recognized him from a high-speed chase two weeks ago that ended when Fischer allegedly eluded police and abandoned a stolen car, according to a police report.
Fischer had warrants for his arrest issued in Spokane and Stevens counties in Washington, and Kootenai County in Idaho.
Unattended fire draws big response
An unattended warming fire at 41 E. Providence Ave. that sent smoke into the sky attracted six fire trucks and 22 firefighters Monday.
The homeowner thought the fire had been extinguished, according to Spokane Fire Department officials.
The fire, burning in a ceramic device that burns wood, was on a patio near a house with an overhead wooden cover.
Warming devices should be at least 25 feet from anything combustible, including buildings and roofs, according to a fire department press release.