Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

News Briefs


September 13, 2018 | View PDF


Cooking oil left on a stove was determined to be the cause of a Sept. 4 fire which caused an estimated $100,000 in damage to a four-plex on Campus Hill in Pullman. The oil was left on the stove in a downstairs apartment.

Tony Nuttman, Pullman fire inspector, reported the resident of the apartment said he had placed about two inches of oil in a cooking pot on the stove, turned the heat on high and then left the room. The resident said when he returned to the room the wall near the stove was in flames.

When Pullman fire crews responded to the fire at approximately 3:30 p.m. Tuesday to the brick four-plex at 330 NE Maple, smoke was reported to be pouring out of the building.

Fire had entered the walls between the two lower-level apartments when crews entered the building.

Smoke damage was sustained in the apartment, and an upstairs toilet fixture broke and flooded that apartment.

The apartment building is owned and managed by Community Action Center.


Shane E. Floyd, 37, the Spokane resident who was stopped on Highway 195 and found to have unopened boxes of computer equipment in the car he was driving July 28, was sentenced to two months in jail Aug. 31 after pleading guilty to a charge of second-degree theft.

Floyd was first observed stopped along Highway 195 in a Volkswagen Jetta in the Steptoe area at about 11 p.m. that night and told deputies he was waiting for a friend to assist him with car problems. He gave the deputy his name and officers later learned he was wanted on an outstanding warrant.

The Jetta was spotted going north on Highway 195 and stopped again near the county line where the computer equipment was noticed in the car. A shipping tag indicated the equipment came from Walmart, and a subsequent check of a surveillance video at Walmart showed Floyd wheeling the boxes of computers out of the store in a cart. Value of the computers was estimated at $1,387.

According to the sentencing report, Floyd had two prior convictions in Spokane County, for taking a motor vehicle and burglary. He had an offender score of two.

Floyd was ordered to pay Walmart $200 in restitution along with costs and fees.

A second charge of trafficking in stolen property was dismissed as part of a plea bargain agreement.


The city's Big Blue water reservoir on the east hill has undergone an interior cleaning, and the Thorn Street reservoir will also be cleaned this year. Public Works Director Mat Hammer told the city council the city has a total of four reservoirs which need to be cleaned.

He added the cleaning should be done every four to five years, but the prior cleaning operation on Big Blue was closer to 10 years ago.

The city plans to get back to the four-year cleaning rotation in the future, he reported.


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