An 18-year-old West Richland man pleaded innocent Wednesday to allegations that he illegally set off fireworks in West Richland that started a brush fire two days before the Fourth of July.
Kyle William Low faces a Nov. 5 trial in Benton County Superior Court for one count of first-degree reckless burning.
The brush fire was started July 2 at 58th Avenue and Grant Street. Before fire crews were able to put out the blaze, the fire damaged Benton REA power poles and boxes, along with some older vehicles and trailers on the property, documents said.
A large shed also sustained some heat damage, while another property owner reported the pump house for her well was damaged by the flames, documents stated.
Officers learned that Low had been with another man, Casey Martin, lighting fireworks on Grant Street, documents stated.
Martin apparently had been trying to light a mortar but didn't follow the directions and decided not to use the tube to launch the mortar into the air, documents stated.
Low reportedly tried to block the wind as Martin made several attempts to light it.
Low then lit the mortar on the ground and it exploded, sending sparks flying into the brush on both sides of the road, documents stated.
Multiple fires were started by the sparks, which Low and Martin were not able to extinguish, documents stated.
Martin called 911 to report the fires before they both sped away from the area with three friends who had been watching, documents stated.
The vehicle's license plate number was taken down by a homeowner in the area, and officers were able to track the vehicle back to Low, documents stated.
Richland couple accused of setting fire to mobile home
A Richland couple are accused of intentionally setting fire to a mobile home in May while they were being evicted from the mobile home park they were in.
Farel Parr Hettinger Jr., 25, and Tabitha Ann Jacobs, 26, are charged in Benton County Superior Court with first-degree arson for allegedly starting a fire in their home May 18.
Jacobs was sent a summons to appear in court Wednesday but did not appear. A warrant was issued for her arrest.
Hettinger pleaded innocent to the arson charge and faces an Oct. 8 trial. He remained out of custody on his personal recognizance.
The mobile home at 58 Nuclear Lane in Richland was owned by Hettinger, and he lived there with his girlfriend, court documents said.
The couple were not home at the time of the fire, but neighbors told police and fire investigators that both had been moving items out of the home until after3 a.m. that day, documents said.
Hettinger reportedly was mad about being evicted from the mobile home park and allegedly made statements to neighbors that if he couldn't have his trailer, nobody would be able to have it.
Fire investigators determined that there were three separate ignition points inside the mobile home, but only one burned enough to damage the trailer, documents stated.
Officials ruled the fire was incendiary caused by igniting combustible materials with an open flame device, documents stated.
Improper wiring and electrical causes were eliminated as causes, documents stated.
Prosecutors allege that Hettinger and Jacobs gave inconsistent statements about where they had gone after they left the home, documents stated.
The couple also allegedly filled a vehicle with their belongings and moved it away from the trailer, which neighbors said was not a common practice.
Warrant issued after Pasco man doesn't show up for hearing
A warrant was issued for the arrest of a Pasco man accused of punching a man in the face several times during a post-Apple Cup party last fall.
William Lars Zumwalt, 32, was expected to make his initial appearance in Benton County Superior Court on Wednesday, but he didn't show up.
Zumwalt is charged with second-degree assault for the Nov. 27 incident.
According to court documents, Zumwalt and others were at the victim's home watching the Apple Cup, the annual football game between the University of Washington and Washington State University.
The victim, Raymond Balderman, said the party continued after the game and the group continued to drink into the night, documents stated.
Around midnight, the group was outside on the porch when one of the party-goers dropped a cigar on the ground and Balderman said he bent down to pick it up, documents stated.
Balderman then apparently was accidentally kicked in the right side of his face by a woman, who apologized and gave him a hug.
That's when Zumwalt, the woman's boyfriend, reportedly "went crazy" and started punching Balderman on the left side of his face, documents stated.
Balderman suffered severe injuries to his face, including several fractures, documents stated.
-- Paula Horton: 582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org