Two firefighters, two residents hurt in Valley Run Apartments fire

By Tom Lehman 11:25pm, December 21, 2014 - Updated 11:51am, December 22, 2014
VIDEO: Fire breaks out near Claymont (PHOTO: Kyle Bouchard and Sarah Burroughs)
A handful of people were hurt Sunday night after a fire in a three-story apartment complex near Claymont, New Castle County paramedics said.

The blaze was first reported about 9 p.m. at the Valley Run Apartments in Butternut Court, Sgt. Michael McColley said.

Numerous fire companies from New Castle County and neighboring Delaware County responded to the scene, McColley said.

A 79-year-old woman who injured her back while escaping the building was taken to Christiana Hospital in Stanton, he said.

A 27-year-old woman refused treatment at a hospital for smoke inhalation, paramedics said.

McColley said a 28-year-old firefighter was in stable condition at Christiana Hospital for a head injury suffered while fighting the fire.

A 25-year-old paramedic, he said, was treated at Wilmington Hospital for an ankle injury suffered while evacuating a resident.

The state fire marshal was on scene last night investigating the fire.

1 dead, 2 hurt after fire at Harbor House Apartments in Claymont

By Yossi Goldstein/Ruth Bryna 9:16am, December 21, 2014 - Updated 9:44am, December 22, 2014
A fire destroys part of the Harbor House Apartments in Claymont.
State fire investigators are searching for the cause of the fire at a Claymont apartment complex in the early hours on Sunday that left one person dead and two injured. It was the first of two apartment building fires to occur in Claymont on the day.

The fire broke out around 2 a.m. According to the State Fire Marshal, the Claymont Fire Company and New Castle County Paramedics responded to 911 calls, and arrived to see flames shooting from the three-story Harbor House Apartments on the 200 block of Harbor Drive in Claymont.

A senior citizen was rescued by firefighters and treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and high carbon monoxide levels. He and one other person were transported to Christiana Hospital in Newark for treatment.

Paramedics say a third person was found in the building by a rescue crew and was pronounced dead at the scene. The Delaware Division of Forensic Science took custody of the victim at the scene and will conduct an autopsy tomorrow, the State Fire Marshal said.

The fire took about three hours for firefighters to get under control, and property damage may exceed $1 million, according to the Fire Marshal. Officials said the building's fire alarm system did activate.

The American Red Cross and the apartment complex management team are assisting 38 displaced tenants from two buildings.


Dover man with BB gun shot, killed by police

By Ruth Bryna 4:26pm, December 21, 2014 - Updated 9:44am, December 22, 2014
Photo of the pellet gun used by James Long (Photo: Dover Police)
Two officers on the Dover police force are on paid administrative leave following the shooting death of a man in Dover, who allegedly pointed a BB gun at police.

Police said 52-year-old James Long had called a crisis center at 10:38 p.m. Saturday. They said Long told them he was having suicidal thoughts and had a plan to commit "suicide by cop." Police said Long had made similar threats in the past to the Dover Police Department.

Two Dover officers--a corporal who is a 10-year veteran, and a patrolman, who is a six-year veteran--were dispatched to Long's apartment in the "M" building of the Country Club Apartment complex at 50 Greenway Square in Dover.

After neighbors were evacuated from the area, the officers entered Long's apartment just after midnight, after failing to get his cooperation. Officers said Long pointed what looked like a gun at the officers, which caused them to fire back, hitting him twice.

Long was transported to Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

It was discovered after the shooting that Long was pointing a pellet or BB gun, that resembled a Colt semi-automatic handgun, at officers.

Police said Long had also booby-trapped his apartment with an improvised device designed to mix dangerous chemicals that would have emitted a toxic gas.

Dover police are conducting an internal investigation into the incident in conjunction with the Delaware Attorney General's office.

Pedestrian killed near New Castle

By Jim Hilgen 9:11am, December 21, 2014 - Updated 9:57am, December 22, 2014
A pedestrian is dead after being struck by a car near New Castle Saturday evening, police said.

Shortly after 6 p.m., police said 78-year-old Jean Caricchio, of Newark, walked into the westbound lanes of Cox Neck Road.

Police said the woman walked into the path of an SUV driven by a 46-year-old New Castle woman.

Caricchio suffered multiple injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

State police are investigating the crash. No charges have been filed at this time. It is not the first time a pedestrian has been struck by a vehicle just in the month of December.

Coons speaks out on NYC cop killings

By Ruth Bryna 4:39pm, December 21, 2014 - Updated 9:49am, December 22, 2014
Sen. Chris Coons (WDEL/file)
Delaware Senator Chris Coons is speaking out from Liberia on the ambush murder of two New York police officers.

Coons, who is co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Law Enforcement Caucus, issued a statement Sunday on the murder of New York City police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in their squad car in Brooklyn Saturday.

The senator called the incident a "cold-blooded shooting" and "an unconscionable act of hatred."

"While every police officer accepts that there is a risk to doing the job, wearing a uniform should not be the same as wearing a target," Coons said.

The senator said his heart goes out to the families of the slain officers, to the New York Police Department, and to all those who serve and protect our communities.

Hockessin fire ruled accidental

By Yossi Goldstein 10:45am, December 21, 2014 - Updated 10:00am, December 22, 2014
A fire that started in Hockessin shortly after 5:00 p.m. Saturday was determined to be accidental, according to the Delaware State Fire Marshal's Office.

The Hockessin Fire Company responded to the fire in the 600 block of Grant Avenue where smoke was seen emerging from the residence.

There were no injuries in the fire. The state fire marshal deputies determined that the fire began on the first floor of the house and was cause by a malfunctioning wood stove.

Damage to the home is estimated at approximately $75,000.

Fight wildfires out west as a member of the Del. Forest Service

By Andrew Sgroi 6:18pm, December 21, 2014 - Updated 10:01am, December 22, 2014
Looking for some adventure in life? Maybe a summer "trip" with a noble mission? The state forestry agency is looking for a few good recruits to get outdoors and help save lives as part of one of their on-call wildfire crews.

The Delaware Forest Service (DFS), a key player in helping to battle out-of-state wildfires, is currently seeking motivated candidates above the age of 18 for its wildfire training classes to begin in January at the Delaware State Fire School in Dover.

Though trainees are not required to have previous firefighting experience, Kyle Hoyd, Urban & Community Forestry Coordinator of the DFS, explained just what the agency sought in a potential recruit.

"We're looking for a physically and mentally fit person that's willing to learn and that's able to, really, travel and help those in need out west," Hoyd said. He noted sometimes travel consisted of two or more weeks during the summer to assist with out-of-state wildfire battles.

Training for certification consists of basic coursework, rigorous "pack tests", and participation in the capstone of the wildfire training series, the annual Fire Camp at Redden State Forest in late April. Though the work on an actual fire line can be exacting, Hoyd assured that the training received enables crews to get rapidly acclimated.

"Folks do sometimes suffer from headaches and fatigue, but typically after that three day period, everybody is kind of on that same physical level," he said

The deadline for course registration is Jan. 3, 2014.

Investigators probing Mill Creek fire

By Yossi Goldstein 10:36am, December 21, 2014 - Updated 10:01am, December 22, 2014
The state Fire Marshal's office is investigating the cause of a fire in the 4500 block of Pickwick Drive in Mill Creek Saturday night.

The Mill Creek Fire Company responded to the fire at 6 p.m. in the Limestone Gardens neighborhood, where smoke and fire was visible from the burning residence.

A man suffered a minor laceration to his hand, but refused medical treatment.

Damage to the home was estimated at $100,000.

State fire marshal deputies are currently conducting an investigation into the origin and cause of the fire.

Man killed in crash that at New Castle Airport

By Jim Hilgen 8:41am, December 21, 2014 - Updated 10:01am, December 22, 2014
A man died after a crash near New Castle which sent his car through the fence at the New Castle Airport, police said.

Paramedics responded to the 100 block of N. DuPont Highway around 5 a.m. Sunday.

They found a 30-year-old man dead in his car.

State police are investigating the crash.

Bear-area kids get towed away with daycare provider's car

By Frank Gerace 12:27pm, December 20, 2014 - Updated 10:04am, December 22, 2014
A Bear-area mother says she's done with her daycare provider after the mother's five-year-old daughter took an unplanned trip Friday afternoon.

Erin Wintrup tells WDEL News she left her daughter with a neighbor who runs a daycare from her home, and when the neighbor went shopping, she took Wintrup's daughter and another child with her.

Wintrup says the daycare provider parked her car and went into a store--that's when the trouble started.

"Her windows are very tinted, very dark, and the tow truck company--she was parked illegally--the tow truck company towed her car away," said Wintrup.

When the tow truck driver got to the tow yard, he saw the kids in the car and called State Police--Wintrup says she's puzzled by what happened next.

"I have nothing but respect for them, but they released my child into the care of the daycare provider's sister, and I wish that they would've called us first," said Wintrup.

Wintrup's not sure how long the girls' unplanned trip lasted.

"Per the tow truck company, they said it was at least 10--it looks like it was at least 10 minutes, but the police officer had told me it could have been up to 15 to 20 minutes," said Wintrup.

She adds the daycare provider, who's also a neighbor, isn't a bad person.

"I think she just made a very, very dangerous and bad mistake--careless mistake," said Wintrup.

Wintrup says the kids are OK and back with their parents, and the daycare provider, who isn't yet licensed, is charged with child endangerment.

Pedestrian hit by car near Newark

By Jim Hilgen 9:00am, December 21, 2014 - Updated 10:04am, December 22, 2014
A 52-year-old woman was seriously injured when she was struck by a car Saturday night, police said.

The woman was walking near the Christiana Bypass and Old Baltimore Pike around 10:30 p.m. when the accident occurred.

She was treated for a severe leg injury at the scene by New Castle County Paramedics.

The woman was taken to Christiana Hospital, where she is listed in critical condition.

State police are investigating the incident.

Wilmington police looking for missing child

By Yossi Goldstein 9:11am, December 21, 2014 - Updated 10:09am, December 22, 2014
The Wilmington Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in finding a missing child.

David Hinson, 12, is described as black, 5' tall, weighing around 80 lbs.

He was last seen at approximately 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon leaving the house following an altercation with a family member. He was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and sweat-pants when he left his Wilmington residence in the 1400 block of Maryland Avenue.

According to authorities, the boy suffers from developmental issues as a result of injuries sustained from head trauma a number of years ago.

If you know his whereabouts, police are asking residents to call patrol at 302.576.3921.

Motorist get Christmas gift of low gas prices

By Jim Hilgen 10:38am, December 21, 2014 - Updated 10:17am, December 22, 2014
Filling stockings is easier this year as gas prices continue to drop.

According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, Delaware motorists were paying an average of $2.55 per gallon for unleaded regular at week's end. That's a drop of 11 cents from last week and 83 cents from a year ago.

AAA spokeswoman Jana Tidwell said the lower prices will spread more joy on the highways this holiday season.

She said strong oil supplies and weak oil prices are behind the downward trend.

Unemployment rate plummets in Delaware

By Associated Press 7:02am, December 21, 2014 - Updated 10:14am, December 22, 2014
The latest labor report showed Delaware's unemployment rate fell from 6.4 percent in October to 6 percent in November.

Released on Friday, the report said Delaware added 3,200 new jobs in November, and that the unemployment rate in the state has dropped significantly in the past few years.

The report said Delaware was named fourth in the nation in job growth over the past 12 months, trailing only North Dakota, Utah and Texas.

The state added 12,300 new jobs between Nov. 2013 and Oct. 2014, according to the report.

Gov. Jack Markell said in a written statement that the numbers are "encouraging," and that the state is "making good progress."

1 dead following assault near Newport apartment complex

By Michelle Provencher 4:13pm, December 20, 2014 - Updated 10:17am, December 22, 2014
New Castle County Paramedics said one man was killed and another critically injured in an assault at an apartment complex outside Newport.

County police said they were dispatched to the unit block of Lowry Drive in Woodland Apartments, around 12:45 p.m. Saturday to check out a suspicious vehicle.

There, police investigators said they found two men in the car.

The first victim, a 31-year-old man, was reportedly treated for a head injury before being transported to Christiana Hospital in critical condition.

Paramedics said the second victim was pronounced dead on the scene.

New Castle County Police continue to investigate.

Bicyclist hit by car, in critical condition downstate

By Michelle Provencher 4:15pm, December 20, 2014 - Updated 10:17am, December 22, 2014
An investigation is underway into a car crash which landed an Ellendale bicyclist in critical condition.

State police said 64-year-old Collin Worth was riding his bike south on the northbound side of Hummingbird Road approaching Milton-Ellendale Highway at about 7:15 p.m. Friday.

Investigators said a car driving in the northbound lane of Hummingbird Road didn't see Worth and hit him.

Police reported Worth was flung into the car's front windshield before falling to the pavement.

Troopers said Worth wasn't wearing a helmet at the time, and was airlifted to Christiana Medical Center for a traumatic head injury.

Police said the driver of the car, 18-year-old Muneer Aziz of Ellendale, was not injured.

State police said no charges are currently filed but the accident is still under investigation.

Dover police nab serial robber

By Michelle Provencher 10:10am, December 21, 2014 - Updated 10:21am, December 22, 2014
Dover police said they cuffed a serial robbery suspect wanted for a slew of offenses.

Police said 43-year-old Morris Simms, of South Farmview Drive, in Dover, allegedly robbed the EZ Check Cashing at 1005 College Road around 2:00 p.m. Friday.

Investigators said they quickly responded to the scene and began searching the area on foot.

Simms was reportedly found in a wooded area nearby and was caught after a brief chase.

Detectives linked Simms to five other recent robberies, a Valero/Shore Stop on De. 3, a Stop N Shop on Dec. 6, a different Stop N Shop on Dec. 8, another Valero/Shore Stop on Dec. 16, and a Days Inn Hotel on Dec. 17

Simms faces various robbery, weapons, assault, strangulation and resisting arrest charges. He's been committed to the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in lieu of $656,000 bail.

Judge set to rule in child porn case of ex-Tower Hill Headmaster

By The Associated Press 6:47pm, December 21, 2014 - Updated 10:21am, December 22, 2014
Chris Wheeler (WDEL/file)
A judge is set to render his verdict in the child porn case, involving the former headmaster of Tower Hill.

Chris Wheeler will learn his fate Monday. Wheeler, who waived a jury trial, is charged with 25 counts of dealing in child pornography. He faces at least 50 years in prison, if convicted on all counts.

Wheeler was arrested after police searched his home and office and found thousands of images of child pornography. Police were first alerted by child sex abuse allegations for which Wheeler has not been charged.

Wheeler's attorney says prosecutors failed to prove that he viewed or downloaded any child pornography, or that he knew images from online newsgroups to which he subscribed were being automatically cached to his computer.

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