Northwest NEWS

February 15, 1999

Local News


Compiled by Andrew Walgamott, staff reporter

Kenmore fire blamed on improper kitchen vent

   house fire

Northshore firefighters responded to a fire last week in Kenmore at the Schnitzelbank building. Fire investigators determined an improperly installed vent caused the blaze.
Staff photo by Andrew Walgamott.

   KENMORE--An afternoon fire early last week at a house next to the old Schnitzelbank restaurant was blamed on an improperly installed kitchen range hood vent system, a King County Fire Investigator determined.

   Northshore firefighters responding to the fire at 7330 Bothell Way on Feb. 9 found smoke coming from the eaves of the small, wood-frame building. The fire was attacked through exterior access panels.

   A woman who had been sleeping inside was awakened by a police officer and escaped unharmed. Apparently, the woman had been cooking earlier when flames from a pan of oil caught a wicker basket on fire. She doused those, but the fire apparently ignited combustibles in the attic or within a grease-coated wooden chase. Instead of venting to the exterior, the kitchen range vent terminated in the attic.

   County officials estimated damage to the structure at $5,000, with another $500 loss in contents.

Public hearing on pipeline

   A proposed fuel pipeline from Western Washington to Pasco will be the subject of a public hearing on March 30 from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Federal Center south, Galaxy Room, 4735 East Marginal Way So., Seattle. The Seattle District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is holding the hearing to gather public comments about the Olympic Pipe Line Company's proposal to construct and operate a petroleum products pipeline.

   Because of the anticipated number of speakers and the limited amount of time, each speaker will be held to three minutes. The Corps recommends the complete text of longer comments be submitted in writing with an oral summation.

   Written comments will be accepted through April 12 and made part of the public hearing record. Written statements can be submitted either at the hearing or directly to the Corps at: Regulatory Branch, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, P.O. Box 3755, Seattle, WA 98124-3755.

County landowners see weed fee

   SEATTLE--King County property owners take note: A new noxious weed fee appears on property tax bills that went out Feb. 13. The county will charge "a small fee" of $.85 per parcel plus $.09 cents per acre per year to fund the Noxious Weed Control Program.

   Noxious weeds--Scot's broom, orange hawkweed, giant hogweed, purple loosestrife, tansy ragwort--are non-native plants that have been introduced to the area. They can threaten habitat diversity and wildlife, and some are toxic to livestock and humans. Counties are required by the state to have weed control programs. Sixteen counties have weed fees on property tax bills, with fees ranging from $.85 to $11.10 per parcel.

Plea bargain cuts trestle pusher's sentence

   BOTHELL--The suspect in a 1996 Bothell death pled guilty to second-degree murder and will serve twelve years in prison after reaching a plea agreement with King County prosecutors last week.

   In 1997, a jury found Brian Schrader guilty of pushing Michael Schuerhoff from a train trestle and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He appealed his conviction and was granted a new trial based on a procedural error during his first trial.

   According to prosecutors, Schrader and friends plotted to ditch Schuerhoff on Jan. 2, 1996 so they could be with two of the victim's female friends. Schrader proposed pushing Schuerhoff from the trestle and three of his friends bet him money and marijuana he wouldn't do it. He did, and Schuerhoff drowned.

   Prosecutors acknowledge that no sentence will heal the victim's family's loss, but "12 years in prison is a substantial punishment for Schrader's careless and stupid acts." The plea brings the three-year-old proceedings to a close, prosecutors said.

Sheriff asks County to amend gun sell-off law

   SEATTLE--King County Sheriff Dave Reichert last week asked the County Council to amend an ordinance that requires police to sell assault rifles and certain other weapons. According to Sheriff's spokesman John Urquhart, Reichert wants to destroy assault weapons or any shotgun or rifle used in a homicide. The law currently requires the Sheriff's Office to auction off those weapons.

   "We are in the business of fighting crime and the fear of crime. That's our mission, not gun sales," said Reichert in a press release. In a trade facilitated by Glock Firearms last year, the county's handguns went to a Midwest gun dealer and the county was provided duty handguns for officers.

   Certain handguns, the so-called "Saturday night" specials, are already being destroyed. Rifles and shotguns not involved in deaths would still be sold, according to Urquhart.