Massive search for missing Arcadia firefighter continues in Los Padres National Forest

6-20-14 FIRFIGHTER02-L

FILLMORE >> Dozens of searchers resumed their hunt in the Ventura County wilderness Saturday for missing Arcadia firefighter Mike Herdman, who disappeared after chasing after his dog while camping more than a week ago, authorities said.
The search team swelled to 86 members, who trekked through Los Padres National Forest and tried to spot the missing firefighter from the air with the aid of two helicopters and two unmanned drones, according to Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Buschow.
Herdman’s dog, Duke, had been spotted by rescuers Wednesday and Thursday, renewing searchers’ hope. But Buschow said there were no sightings of the dog or its owner Friday or Saturday.
“During the night they heard it (barking), but it didn’t come down to the traps,” Buschow said.
“We’re continuing the search,” Buschow said. “L.A. City Animal Services is actively trying to catch the dog.”
While there was no way of knowing if the elusive dog was keeping near its owner, “That’s the hope,” he said.
Fillmore Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Bill Herrera, who was hospitalized in intensive care Thursday after being bit by a “very large rattlesnake” while taking part in the search, continued recovering Saturday, Buschow said.
He received 52 vials of anti-venom and was doing well, the sergeant said.
“Apparently, the hospital was saying it might be a record,” Buschow said.
Three other injuries have been reported during the search, which kicked off June 15, officials said. One searcher suffered a leg injury, and two others were treated for heat exhaustion.
The massive search effort began two days after Herdman disappeared in the Sespe Wilderness, where he had been camping with fellow firefighter Taylor Byars, officials said. After searching for Herdman himself and becoming disoriented, Taylor did not emerge from the wilderness until June 15.
Herdman was described as an avid hiker, though he was barefoot and wearing only a t-shirt and shorts when he vanished while chasing after his dog.
Bare footprints believed to be several days old were found by searchers Monday and Tuesday less than a mile south of where Herdman was last seen.

PHOTO by Sarah Reingewirtz

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Indoor marijuana grow busted in Arcadia; second similar raid in two days

Arcadia police arrested a man Monday who was allegedly growing about 135 marijuana plants in a residence, Arcadia police officials said in a press release.
Tiv Ke Roeung, 40, of Arcadia was arrested for cultivation, officials said.
Roeung is being held at Arcadia Police Department’s jail in lieu of $30,000 bail.
Officers received a tip about a possible grow house in the 500 block of West Huntington Drive, officials said.
Police discovered the plants about 3 p.m. Monday inside the garage of the residence.
“The garage was converted into a marijuana cultivation area with lighting, ventilation, electrical wiring, irrigation, and drying bins strewn throughout the bottom level of the residence,” officials said.
In addition to his arrest, Roeung is also being held without bail on an immigration hold by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, officials said.
He has a scheduled appearance Wednesday at Pasadena Municipal Court, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department booking system.
Monday’s bust was the second time Arcadia police raided an indoor marijuana farm in two days.
Officers seized 438 pot plants and arrested a suspect Saturday at a home in the 2000 block of South Sixth Avenue.

— Venusse Navid and Brian Day

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UPDATED: Truck spills gravel onto 210 Freeway in Arcadia

ARCADIA — A gravel truck spilled its cargo on the 210 Freeway in Arcadia Wednesday, snarling afternoon traffic for hours, officials said.
The mishap occurred just after 3 p.m. on the westbound 210 Freeway, just east of Santa Anita Avenue, California Highway Patrol Officer Patrick Kimball said.
A truck spilled it’s load of tiny rocks into the roadway, initially blocking all lanes and damaging more than half-a-dozen other vehicles on the roadway, Kimball said. No injuries were reported.
Only the carpool and left lane of the freeway had been opened as of 4:45 p.m., he said.
A Sig Alert remained in effect on the freeway until all lanes were cleared shortly before 6 p.m., according to CHP logs.

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Police seize 438 marijuana plants from Arcadia home; suspect arrested

ARCADIA — Police seized more than 400 marijuana plants from an Arcadia home late Saturday and arrested a 60-year-old man in connection with the indoor pot garden, officials said.
Yong Fa Jiang of Arcadia was booked on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana, according to Arcadia police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The bust came about 10 p.m. after police officers patrolling the area spotted a “suspicious vehicle” parked along the street in the 2000 block of South Sixth Avenue, Arcadia police Lt. Tom Cullen said in a written statement.
“Officers contacted a person near the vehicle, and their preliminary investigation revealed that a marijuana cultivation operation was being conducted inside a nearby house,” Cullen said.
Further detail regarding what tipped off police to the grow house were not available.
“The grow consisted of several rooms with lighting, ventilation, and electrical wiring run throughout the house,“ Cullen said.
Police ultimately uprooted 438 marijuana plants, “in various stages of growth,” Sgt. Dan Crowther said.
Jiang was released from jail Sunday morning after posting $10,000 bail, records show.
Arcadia police detectives are handling the investigation, and anyone with information was asked to contact the Arcadia Police Department and reference case 14-3018. Tips may also be submitted anonymously via L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Police: Temple City woman pepper sprays repossession agent in Arcadia

ARCADIA >> Deputies arrested a man and woman from Temple City Thursday after they scuffled with a repossession agent and the woman sprayed him with pepper spray, officials said.
Fiawna Jones, 27, was arrested on suspicion of illegal use of pepper spray, a felony, shortly after the 1:15 p.m. incident at a commercial parking lot at Colorado Boulevard and Santa Anita Avenue, Arcadia police Lt. Roy Nakamura said.
Also arrested, cited and released with a court date was her boyfriend, 47-year-old Raul Chavez, who was accused of battery for allegedly shoving the repossession agent, the lieutenant said.
The agent arrived to repossess an Acura when Chavez became involved in an argument with him, which escalated to pushing, Nakamura said.
Jones then pulled out a canister of pepper spray and squirted it into the repossession agent’s face before fleeing the scene in a different car, he said. The agent received first-aid at the scene, but was not taken to a hospital, and continued repossessing the car.
Police found Jones driving nearby and arrested her, Nakamura said. She was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail pending her initial court appearance.

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San Gabriel Valley police, firefighters to square off on basketball court in Arcadia to help the Special Olympics

2014 Battle of the Badges

San Gabriel Valley police officers will take on their fire department counterparts on the basketball court in Arcadia this weekend as the annual Battle of the Badges tournament returns bigger than ever to raise money for the Special Olympics.
The series of games will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday in the gymnasium of Arcadia High School, 180 Campus Drive in Arcadia, organizers said in a written statement. The cost of admission will be a “donation of your choosing,” and proceeds will benefit the Special Olympics Southern California.
In addition to the action on the court, there will be jumpers for children, refreshments, a SWAT demonstration, historical vehicles, a fire truck and gaming booths set up by Dave & Buster’s, Arcadia police Detective Walter Ashby said. An iPad Air will also be raffled off.
“One-hundred percent of the proceeds are donated directly to the Special Olympics,” he said.
San Gabriel police officers will take on San Gabriel firefighters at 10 a.m.; Alhambra police will play Alhambra firefighters at noon; El Monte police will take on Upland firefighters at 2 p.m.; Pasadena police will play Pasadena firefighters at 4 p.m.; and Arcadia police officers and firefighters will face off on the court at 6 p.m.
For more information, contact Detective Ashby at 626-821-2654, or email washby@ci.arcadia.ca.us.

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Police seek missing, possibly suicidal Arcadia man

Police asked the public’s help Sunday in locating a missing, possibly suicidal Arcadia man.
Blair Christopher Polk, 44, was last seen about 1:15 p.m. Saturday at his home, Arcadia police officials said in a written statement.
“Mr. Polk suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and has recently made suicidal statements,” according to the statement. He was described as white, 5 feet 7 inches tall, 155 pounds, with brown hair in a pony tail and green eyes. He has a scar or mark on his chin. He was last seen wearing dark-colored shorts, a T-shirt and sneakers.
ANyone with information was asked to contact Arcadia police at 626-574-5123. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Arcadia apartment building fire displaces 13, injures one

ARCADIA >> A fire at an Arcadia apartment building displaced 13 people, injured one and caused about $300,000 worth of damage, officials said.
The fire was reported at 1:43 a.m. at an apartment building in the 600 block of Windsor Road, Arcadia Fire Department spokeswoman Beth Stogner said in a written statement.
“Upon their arrival, firefighters encountered heavy fire and smoke coming from an upstairs unit of an eight unit apartment building,” Stogner said. “The unit of origin was fully involved in fire, which had extended into the attic space.”
Firefighters managed to extinguish the flames in about 20 minutes, she said.
All 13 residents of the apartment complex got out of the burning building before firefighters arrived.
“One occupant was transported to a local hospital for smoke inhalation and minor cuts,” Stogner said.
The Red Cross was summoned to help the displaced residents find lodging.
Fire officials estimated the fire caused $250,000 worth of damage to the building, and another $50,000 to items stored inside.
The fire ignited in a sleeping area and was initially believed to be accidental, though the specific cause remained under investigation.

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Burglars flee empty-handed after breaking into Arcadia Nordstrom

ARCADIA >> Three burglars broke into an Arcadia Nordstrom store early Saturday and headed for the jewelry case, but fled empty-handed, police said.
The 4:07 a.m. break-in at the store in the Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall, 400 S. Baldwin Avenue, was the second similar crime reported at the retailer in recent months, Arcadia police Sgt. Vaughn Whalen said.
Three burglars forced their way into the same store just after 4 a.m. Dec. 31, escaping with as much as $230,000 worth of jewelry and purses, Lt. Mike Castro said at the time.
But the store no longer stores jewelry in display cases overnight, Whalen said. Surveillance footage of the burglary shows the intruders going over to the jewelry display cases, then fleeing after finding it empty.
They had pried open a door to get into the Nordstrom store, Whalen added. The burglars were initially described only as three people, two of them wearing black ski masks.
Investigators had yet to determined whether Saturday morning’s break-in was related to the previous Nordstrom burglary on New Year’s Eve.
“Our detectives will be looking into all aspects of it,” Whalen said.
In the December crime, three burglars entered the store through a window before helping themselves to between $100,000 and $200,000 worth of jewelry, as well as $20,000 to $30,000 worth of purses, Castro said. A detailed description of the three burglars was not available.

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UPDATED: Elderly Arcadia man fatally struck by pickup truck; second man injured

ARCADIA >> An elderly Arcadia man died and another was injured late Wednesday after they were struck by a pickup truck while crossing Huntington Drive near the Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall, authorities said.
A 78-year-old Arcadia man and a 76-year-old Arcadia man, were struck as they crossed Huntington Drive at Gate 1 about 9:15 p.m., Arcadia police Lt. Tom Cullen said.
Both men were taken to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, where the 78-year-old man succumbed to his injuries a short time later, Cullen said. His identity was not available.
The other man suffered injuries described as moderate and was expected to survive.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that two adult men were walking from the northwest corner of the intersection in a southeast direction across Westbound Huntington Drive, well outside of the designated north/south crosswalk on the east side of the intersection,” Cullen said.
The 1983 Toyota pickup truck that struck the men was being driven west on Huntington Drive by a 19-year-old Arcadia man, Cullen said. The driver was cooperating with authorities and was not arrested Wednesday.
Police said the intersection is normally controlled by a traffic signals, but the signals were not functioning due to a power outage. The signals began functioning again minutes after the incident.

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