ALBANY, Ore. — Investigators are looking for the cause of a fatal fire at an Albany apartment building Wednesday.

Fire crews responded to the scene at 6:41 a.m. at 417 6th Ave. SE.  It took firefighters less than 15 minutes to put out the flames.

One person was killed in the fire; everyone else in the building was able to escape safely.

“My granddaughter woke me up, telling me the house was on fire,” said neighbor Virginia Hilderbrand. “And I just jumped out of bed.”

Hilderbrand and her family went outside and saw the next door apartment building up in flames.

“I can’t even imagine what it must have felt like,” she said.

She brought out coffee and blankets for the occupants who made it out safely – feeling a sense of panic and helplessness – wanting to help, but only able to do so much.

“You want to do so much and yet you can’t.”

After hearing the cracking and popping of the building burning, Hilderbrand says she could smell more than just smoke.

“You could smell. You could smell…the smell. And that’s when I came into the house because I couldn’t deal with that.”

The Albany Fire Department says everyone but one person made it out safely.

“We don’t know how the fire started,” said Albany Fire spokesperson Wanda Omdahl. “We don’t know exactly what happened except that we had one fatality.”

The fire department is not releasing the man’s name yet until his family is notified. But neighbors are already mourning.

“I’ve seen him almost every day,” Hilderbrand said, who has lived in the same house for 14 years. “And he always talked to me and he’d always say hi. It’s going to be hard to not see him every day.”

Ondahl says there are 10 apartments in the building, but only eight were occupied. The other occupants are now without a place to live.

“I ask for prayers for all of them that are homeless now,” Hilderbrand said. “Homeless. What are they supposed to do now?”

Omdahl estimates there is $300,000 worth of damage. Even though everyone made it out safely, she says one occupant has a mild burn on his hand.

“We had seven people that were evacuated,” Omdahl said. “They’re currently down at Station 11 with the Red Cross getting some assistance because they’re not going to be able to move back into their apartments.”

The residents were not willing to speak with KEZI 9 News, but their neighbors say they are willing to do whatever they can to help.

“If they need anything, we are here to help them,” Hilderbrand said.

The fire department is still investigating the cause of the fire.

EUGENE, Ore. — Eugene police need your help finding the man who broke into the Fifth Street Public Market Wednesday morning.

They say the suspect went through the northwest door of the market at about 2:40 a.m., stole keys from the janitor’s room, and then used them to go into the main courtyard and cafe area where he stole cash from three food carts.

He was wearing a black pack with reflective straps, a blue zip-up jacket, a dark-colored, fitted baseball hat, dark pants, and white and dark-colored shoes.

He also had a flat screen TV between his backpack and back, and a large chain around his neck.

Cheryl KiddSALEM, Ore. — The widow of fallen Eugene Police Officer Chris Kilcullen met face to face with her husband’s accused killer for the first time Wednesday.

Chris’ widow, Kristie Kilcullen, attended a hearing in Salem for Cheryl Kidd, hoping to make the case to keep Kidd in the Oregon State Hospital.

Wednesday’s initial hearing was about whether to have Kidd evaluated to see if she could be admitted to Pendleton Cottage, a state-run secured residence for people who entered state custody, after being found guilty of crimes except for reason of insanity.

The board decided to move forward with the evaluation.

Any decisions on an actual move will result in another hearing.

In her statement to the board, using large photos of Chris and their daughter Katie, Kristie called Kidd a murderer and wanted her to see the lives she ruined.

Kidd’s aggravated murder charge was dismissed in November because a judge found her too mentally ill to face trial.

Chris Kilcullen was killed in the line of duty back in 2011. Police say he was attempting to stop Cheryl Kidd after she ran a red light, but Kidd shot and killed him. Chris Kilcullen had served EPD for 12 years.

Eugene WhitehallCRESWELL, Ore. — What started out as a fire investigation in Creswell last week turned into a death investigation this week after the Lane County Sheriff’s Office confirmed it found two bodies in the fire.

Now, a transient man who knew both men is in jail facing charges of murder and arson.

People who knew Michael Kelley say he was one of the nicest men they’ve ever met.

“He looked a little rough around the edges, but he was a sweetheart,” said neighbor Liz Washington.

Neighbors say Kelley was the kind of person who would give you the shirt off his back or put food on your table, and often times gave people a place to stay in exchange for work, which is what they say he did for the man accused of murdering him and Carl McFarland.

“He had actually helped us pack up our moving van, and he worked extremely hard, and he did a great job. I would’ve never have thought he did that,” Washington said.

The sheriff’s Office says it arrested man Eugene Whitehall on two counts of murder and one count of arson after discovering the bodies of two men in the burned out home.

“When he was initially contacted we spent some time talking with him and ultimately he was lodged for a charge of possession of methamphetamine and then as we continued to work on the case we were able to actually bring forward the murder charge,” said Lt. Cliff Harold, Lane County Sheriff’s Office.

LCSO would not say what happened between the suspect and victims that led to the crime or how exactly the men died. But say they’re pretty sure McFarland and Kelley are the victims of the fire.

“Started looking at the scene and just a number of factors led us to think we needed to keep looking at it but it took a considerable period of time before we knew how much of a criminal investigation this was,” Harold said.

And as this murder investigation continues, neighbors say rumors this murder was drug related are just absolutely not the truth.

“That is anything but true. Dennis would never do that. He hated taking medication. He wouldn’t harm a fly. So those people that are saying that they don’t know the man, and it really makes me angry that people just jump to conclusions,” Washington said.

Whitehall will be back in court for a preliminary hearing on July 30.

Hayward FlagsEUGENE, Ore. — The World Junior Track and Field Championships is happening at one of the most sustainably oriented locations on the planet–Hayward Field.

The IAAF has activated its landmark social responsibility program “Athletics for a Better World.”

You’ll find free water bottle filling stations and healthy meal options.

Oregon 2014 is also the first carbon neutral IAAF championship event.

EWEB is powering operations with 100 percent carbon free greenpower.

Vendors are also told to reduce waste, and a volunteer team helps recover more than 75 percent of materials headed for the landfill.

Trenton NowakCOTTAGE GROVE, Ore. — Depending on who you are, time has its own meaning. It can measure from past to present or present to future.

In Cottage Grove, time is on Ronnie Nowak’s mind every day.

“They said three to six months,” said Ronnie Nowak.

When she thinks of her 6-year-old grandson, Trenton Nowak, who has a spot-on shot and loves things most boys love, three to six months has never seemed so short.

“It’s called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas, which is a brain tumor in the brain stem. There’s really no treatment or no cure for it,” Nowak said.

Ronnie says Trenton’s diagnosis a month ago came shortly after another tragedy just a few months before.

“We just lost a son three months ago, almost four months ago, to colon cancer. We hadn’t even really gotten over that,” Ronnie said.

She knows when the time comes, it’s going to be hard.

“We cry a lot,” Nowak said.

But at least the road there can be a little easier.

“We want to take him camping and whatever he can do. We use to like to go hiking but that might be a little more difficult but camping, spending time at the lake, and swimming,” Nowak said.

Thanks to the help of family, friends, and strangers, they’ve left Trenton asking Ronnie the tough questions.

“He just asked me one time why people are so nice and I said because people are nice,” Ronnie said.

A short answer for a long list of generous people helping a 6-year-old hit a bullseye just in time.

“It’s all about him and his brother and the time that they have and the time that we have. We’re just making it happy and the best time that they can have,” Ronnie said.

Trenton is turning 7 on Tuesday, and he’s headed to Disneyland this weekend with Ronnie.

If you’d like to help Trenton, click here to go to his donation page. The funds will go toward anything Trenton wants to do in the next three to six months.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott:

USC head coach Steve Sarkisian:

Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez:

Washington State head coach Mike Leach:

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham:

Arizona wide receiver Austin Hill:

Arizona safety Jared Tevis:

USC quarterback Cody Kessler:

Cal quarterback Jared Goff:

Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday:

world flagsEUGENE, Ore. — With more than 177 countries represented at the World Junior Championships this week, some athletes are representing war-torn countries, and sometimes different sides of the same war compete against each other.

“Separate the political issues from the sport,” said Bader Naser, the Bahrainian coach.

Naser, a coach from the middle-eastern island of Bahrain, says athletic events should welcome all nations, regardless of politics.

“Sports is a different issue. Sports gets the people together,” Naser said.

Stand outside the university’s athlete village, and you’ll hear the same sentiment expressed over and over by the athletes and coaches who pass by.

“Once the games are over, people are going to continue going back to that battle. But for these seven days of competition, I think everybody wants to go out and produce the best team they can,” said Haisha Bisiolu, a Nigerian long jumper.

Even the 100-meter relay team for the Netherlands, which lost over a hundred citizens in the downing of Malaysia Flight 17, said they hold no ill feelings toward any other team.

“It’s only sports. Nothing else. We don’t feel any competition…They did nothing wrong to us,” said Tasa Jiya, a relay runner for the Netherlands.

“I don’t like war,” said Ilya Terentyev.

Terentyev, a hammer thrower from the Russian Federation–a country accused by some of participating in the take down of MH-17–says politics does not interest him, only sports.

“After this conflict, we will be friend.//You’ll be friends again?//Yes,” Terentyev said.

Volunteer ambassadors from the university have been working with teams to help them bridge any cultural gaps or misunderstandings.

“We have about 1,700 athletes, and they’re coming here and enjoying themselves and competing with virtually no issues so far,” said global ambassador, Joshua Gurnick.

“Sports and goodwill bring everyone together,” said Gersh Gregory.

Gregory, the javelin coach for Israel, whose army is fighting a war with Hamas, says politicians can learn a lot from athletes.

“It’s a good idea,” Gregory said.

So far, only one international incident has been reported. An Asian coach said she was “dishonored” by being publicly chastised by a cafeteria worker for taking too much fruit.

Read the rest of this entry »

KiddLINN COUNTY, Ore. — A Linn County man convicted of sex trafficking minors across western Oregon has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Police say 21-year-old Steven Michael Kidd trafficked a minor female for nearly a year, starting in late 2011.

They say he took the young woman to Eugene, Medford, Albany, Corvallis, Harrisburg, Portland, and cities in Washington reserving hotel rooms, posting ads soliciting sex and collecting money.

Police say a second minor female was also trafficked.

Click here for more information on this case.

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