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In brief: Private drone nearly hinders firefighting planes

Tue., July 29, 2014

Shingle Springs, Calif. – A private drone trying to record footage of a Northern California wildfire nearly hindered efforts to attack the flames from the air, but firefighters made enough progress to allow most of the 1,200 people under evacuation orders to return home Monday.

An unmanned aircraft that aimed to get video of the blaze burning near vineyards in the Sierra Nevada foothills east of Sacramento was sighted Sunday, two days after the fire broke out, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman Lynne Tolmachoff said.

Authorities told the man controlling the drone to stop it from flying because of the potential danger to firefighting planes. The man, whom Tolmachoff did not identify, was not cited.

Crews held the fire to a little under 6 square miles, increasing containment to 75 percent by Monday evening.

Tornado rips through suburban Boston

Revere, Mass. – A storm system that wreaked havoc across the eastern half of the U.S. spawned a tornado that ripped roofs off homes in suburban Boston, uprooted trees and forced businesses to close.

The tornado, a rarity in Massachusetts, touched down in Revere, a coastal city of nearly 52,000 residents just north of Boston, on Monday morning. City officials said several people suffered minor injuries, including a baby who was in a car and was hurt by flying glass and an elderly woman who suffered cuts.

The National Weather Service said it was a relatively modest EF-2 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale of 0 to 5.

Mayor Daniel Rizzo said 65 homes and businesses were damaged, 13 of them left uninhabitable. He said about 2,800 residences were without power but many were expected to have it restored by midnight.

Prison inmate escapes using basketball hoop

Flagstaff, Ariz. – A physically fit inmate who was a known flight risk escaped from a central Arizona jail by hoisting himself atop a basketball hoop, grabbing on to an overhead security fence and breaking it apart, according to an investigative report released Monday.

No one was directly supervising the recreation yard when Wade Cole Dickinson escaped July 12 while awaiting transfer to a state prison, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office said.

He remains at large, with the U.S. Marshals Service recently joining the hunt for him.

The report suggests Dickinson’s classification as a medium-security inmate and his fitness level played a major part in his ability to flee the Camp Verde jail.

After the 6-foot-1, 190-pound former personal trainer broke through the overhead security fence, he ran across a roof and dropped about 30 feet before scaling an exterior fence with barbed wire, Sheriff Scott Mascher told the Associated Press.

“He was definitely in top physical condition,” he said.

Dickinson’s criminal history doesn’t indicate he is violent. Instead, he’s a con man, a “flimflam kind of guy,” and a thief, Mascher said.


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