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May 10, 2013 at 1:44 PM
Authorities have arrested a man who they say hit four Clallam County homes, a truck and a power pole with a bulldozer shortly after noon on Friday.
The homes sustained substantial damage, but nobody was hurt, said Jim Borte of the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office.
The incident occurred in a subdivision near Highway 101 and North Baker Street, just east of Port Angeles.
Borte identified the suspect as Barry Swegle, 51, of Port Angeles. Swegle was booked into the Clallam County Jail for investigation of malicious mischief.
Borte said Swegle was “highly agitated” and that “apparently there appears to be an ongoing dispute with some of his neighbors.”
Jesse Major, a 19-year-old student who said his grandmother lives in one of the damaged homes, said Swegle is known in the neighborhood because he sometimes digs seemingly random holes with a bulldozer late at night.
Major, who attends Pacific Lutheran University, said his grandmother wasn’t hurt in the incident.
“Of course she was scared,” Major said. “Something was being pushed into her house.”
Borte said he knew of no construction going on nearby which would have been using a bulldozer. He said the machine was an International Harvester TD-25, similar to a Caterpillar D-9.
Police have had a difficult time investigating because of downed power lines in the area.
Thousands of homes were without power in an area ranging from east Port Angeles to Sequim, said Clallam County Public Utility spokesman Mike Howe.
He said power was being restored, but that some homes could be without power for 10 to 12 hours.
Howe said the 70-foot or so power poll taken down by the bulldozer ripped up a major power line, which is why so many homes were affected.
The power isn’t expected to be restored until 9 p.m., Borte said.
Seattle Times staff reporter Erik Lacitis contributed to this report.
October 8, 2012 at 4:11 PM
A $3.6 million lakeside home under construction on a private lane in Seattle’s Laurelhurst neighborhood exploded into flames this afternoon.
After the fire spread to two adjacent homes, embers started a small brush fire on a nearby hillside, according to Seattle Fire Department spokesman Kyle Moore. Embers from the brush fire then landed on three other homes on Northeast Latimer Place.
Altogether, about 100 fire personnel swarmed the neighborhood to quickly control the fire, Moore said.
Two painters inside the house at 5131 N.E. Laurelcrest Lane told firefighters they thought a furnace had exploded. One of them suffered facial burns and was taken to Harborview Medical Center. He was reported to be in stable condition, Moore said. Medics also took two firefighters to Harborview, one for heat exhaustion and one for a minor injury, Moore said.
Neighbors and other workers nearby said the sound of the explosion stunned them.
“We heard a loud boom,” said Alfredo Ramirez, who was painting about three houses down from where the explosion was. “It felt like my hair was going blow out of my head.”
Lee Price, 79, rushed to the scene to check on his granddaughter’s home, which was next to the lakefront homes that caught fire. Laurelcrest Lane was closed to everyone except firefighters but neighbors let Price see from their backyard ridge that their granddaughter’s house was OK.
That wasn’t the case for the home immediately south of the explosion. Moore said damage to that house was extensive.
The home where the fire started is owned by Adam and Laura (Szlyk) Selipsky. Adam Selipsky is listed on Linked In as vice president of marketing, sales, support at Amazon.com Web Services.
Reached by phone late Monday, Laura Selipsky said she was busy with contractors and could not talk, saying only, “I think the fire is out, and I think everyone is doing OK,” she said.
The home to the south of the Selipsky property, at 5129 N.E. Laurelcrest Lane, was built in 2008, and has a county appraised value of $5.7 million. It is owned by Jeffrey Hussey, according to county records.
The home to the north is at 5135 Laurelcrest Lane and it’s appraised value is $4.4 million. The owner according to county records is Georgina Trask.
Plenty of oxygen circulating in the open spaces of the Selipsky home, which was about two months from being finished, fueled the initial fire and made it especially intense, Moore said.
Though no kind of weather can keep an explosion from igniting a home, Seattle Fire spokeswoman Helen Fitzpatrick said the summer’s dry weather played a part in the fire’s spread.
“We’re definitely conscious of how long it’s been since it’s rained, and when you’ve got brush involved, that makes a difference, too,” Fitzpatrick said.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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