Victims of Sunday’s Horrific Accident Struggle to Cope

Kym Kemp / Thursday, Aug. 14 @ 6:57 a.m. / Feel Sad

15-year-old Thomas Wheeler makes a brave attempt at a smile from his hospital bed [Photos provided by family.]

As news of Sunday’s terrible accident, which took the lives of four people and left four others with serious injuries, sinks in, survivors, family and friends struggle to cope.

Twins Thomas and Taylor Wheeler were injured in Sunday’s quadruple fatality accident near Hydesville. Their sister, Judy Martin (age 13), and mother, Alisha Summerfield (age 33), as well as family friends Danny Morris (age 40) and Savanna Ramirez (20) were killed in the crash. Two other family friends were injured.

The two 15-year-olds are both at UC Davis. Thomas Wheeler had surgery yesterday. His twin (see photo below) is in the Intensive Care Unit. Those wishing to help the twins may assist them at this GoFundMe site.

Taylor before the accident.

A service is being held for Daniel Morris tomorrow. Those wishing to help provide for Morris’ services or help his children may deposit money at Coast Central in account #193571s71mor.

Family asked that the the following obituary be included.

Daniel Lantz Ole Morris,  40 years old of Humboldt County will be dearly missed by many. He passed away on 8/10/2014 at 4:30 pm.

Dan was loved by many. He touched many lives with his outgoing personality. He was a first responder for Bridgeville Fire Department. He was a sawyer in many different trades, a very loving, compassionate, kind, out-spoken golfer, fisher and hunter. He loved to ride dirt bikes. Most of all, he loved snagging salmon on the Van Duzen.

Dan’s highest achievement in life were his kids. No matter what the situation, he was proud of them and all they achieved—the good and the bad it didn’t matter! His love for them was unconditional.

He is survived by his grandparents, Lloyd Morris and Penny Vaughan, his parents, Lloyd Lee Morris and Catherine Ann Bryant, siblings, Virginia Johnson, Lloyd Morris, Zachary Morris, Andrew Morris, and Jesse Morris, his children, Rachel Fleming, Shawn Hof, John Hof, Sabastion Stewart, Dakota Morris, and Neil Morris, his step children,  Thomas and Taylor Wheeler. And many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews.

He was proceeded in death by his grandparents, Ole Jensen and Ginger Jensen.

To the family and friends, let’s not think of him as passed away. His journey is just begun. just think of him resting from the  sorrow  and tears. He is in a place of warmth and comfort where there are no days and no years. Think of how he must be wishing that nothing but our sadness can pass away. And think of him as living in the hearts of those he touched. He was loved so much. Keep his memories alive in our hearts forever . 

There will be a Celebration of Life on 8/15/2014 12:00 pm at Goble’s Mortuary, 560 12th street, Fortuna CA followed by a service at Fortuna Fire Hall. Bring your favorite stories and favorite dish. Please No Alcohol. 


Photos of the Lodge Fire by Kim Sallaway

Kym Kemp / Wednesday, Aug. 13 @ 10:23 p.m. /  Fire!

Smoke from the Lodge Fire rushes over the mountains south of Leggett in northern Mendocino. All photos here are from Kim Sallaway. [See more of Sallaway’s fire photos here.]

This evening, the Lodge Fire slid over the mountain and buried hot fingers of flame near the side of the drought stricken Eel River.

Kim Sallaway captured the action as helicopter crews fought the flame. These small almost insignificant men, women and machines battled a monstrous blaze as it cast clouds of colored smoke into the air.

Photos of the Lodge Fire by Mark McKenna

Kym Kemp / Wednesday, Aug. 13 @ 10:10 p.m. /  Fire!

Go deep into the heart of the Lodge Fire as photographer Mark McKenna captures the sweat and heat of a firefighter’s day deep into the thickly wooded mountains of northern Mendocino.

Then, jump to the front lines of the Lodge Fire as it roars through treetops and through forest duff to lap thirstily at the algae thickened edges of the Eel River.

Fire crews return to the Lodge Fire Incident Camp just north of the Northern California Town of Laytonville. The fire was started by lightning strikes Wednesday, July 30 and has burned approximately 11,300 acres and is currently 50% contained.


Lodge Fire Reaches Eel River at Big Bend South of Leggett

Kym Kemp / Wednesday, Aug. 13 @ 7:52 p.m. /  Fire!

UPDATE 9:04 p.m: Photo from the Lodge Fire this evening.

The Lodge Fire rushing towards the Eel River. [Photo taken from Hwy 101 near the Hermitage posted about 6 p.m. by the Redwood Mercantile. Click this link to see more photos.]

I’m watching trees burn right now,” said Kim Sallaway, a photographer from Humboldt who is currently capturing images from the Lodge Fire burning in northern Mendocino. “This fire takes up the entire face of the mountain,” he said.  

Sallaway was calling from the Big Bend area just south of Leggett. “I’m watching a tree right next to the river catch on fire. The tree has now spread to the one next to it,” he paused for half a second and added, “and the one next to it, too.”

Sallaway has promised the Lost Coast Outpost photos so keep watching for updates.

The Lodge Fire has now reached 11,300 acres and is 50% contained.

Smoke billows along Hwy 101. [Photo provided by a reader.]

Cal Fire press release as of 7 p.m.:

Current Situation: Firefighters continue to enhance line in the area of Tenmile drainage and along Highway 101. Aircraft were able to engage in suppressive activity once the inversion layer cleared this afternoon.

Drift smoke continues to be present throughout the Ukiah Valley and has been reported from as far away as Santa Rosa. Interior portions of the fire will continue to burn and may be visible from Highway 101.

The American Red Cross has officially closed the Evacuation Shelter at Leggett School. Red Cross representatives have advised that it can be re-opened, should a need exist.

The Evacuation Order in the following areas has been downgraded to an Evacuation Warning –Camp Seabow, Bowman Ranch, Hunt Ranch, Tan Oak Park, Elk Creek and Mad Creek.

The Evacuation Order is still in effect for the areas south of Highway 101, west of Cummings Road to Leggett. These areas include: The Hermitage, Big Bend and Camp St. Michael. We will continue to evaluate the need for the evacuation order as the incident progresses. 

Please visit for information on how to prepare for an evacuation.

U-haul Your Own Weed, Officers Cut the Lock on a Truck Full of Pot Plants

Kym Kemp / Wednesday, Aug. 13 @ 5:36 p.m. /  marijuana

Pot plants fill the interior of a U-haul truck. [Photos provided by a reader .]

Law enforcement officers from the California Highway Patrol and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office have just cut the lock on what a bystander is calling an abandoned U-haul truck in the parking lot near Hobie’s Market in Scotia.

Inside the vehicle is a virtual pot garden.

According to the bystander, the vehicle was parked between the Town of Scotia Company Office and the Palco Pharmacy this morning. A certain smell, familiar to many residents of this county, began to trickle forth. 

Someone must have reported the situation, said the bystander. Before 4:30 p.m., officers showed up and began the process of opening the vehicle.

We’ll update with more information as soon as we receive it.

Close look at the plants.

Officers cut the lock.


CHP vehicles parked behind the U-haul.

Law Enforcement at Cuneo Creek Today Researching Human Remains Found This Weekend

Kym Kemp / Wednesday, Aug. 13 @ 4:22 p.m. /  News

Humboldt County Sheriff and Department of Justice gather at River Lodge this morning. [Photo provided by reader.]

Several readers reported seeing multiple law enforcement vehicles gathered at the River Lodge in Fortuna with officers “suiting up” this morning. 

What were they doing? asked several readers. Were deputies on a marijuana raid?

No, according to Lt. Steve Knight with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Justice and personnel from his department were “researching” the human remains found at Cuneo Creek this last weekend.

Lt. Knight did not know if more evidence or more human remains were discovered when the officers were there.  

On Sunday, a lower jaw found by an early morning hiker led to the discovery of a skull.

A call into Deputy Coroner Roy Horton was unanswered as of this posting. This last week has been extremely busy for his office 


Lightning Strike Causes Fire Southeast of Orleans

Kym Kemp / Wednesday, Aug. 13 @ 3:10 p.m. /  Fire!

One of multiple lightning strikes igniting fires in Northern California last night kindled a four acre fire in the Boise Creek drainage about 5 miles southeast of Orleans. According to Peggi Lawrence spokesperson for Six Rivers National Forest, the Slide Fire was spotted by the Red Mountain Lookout in a remote area with heavy timber. Crews are having to hike in to reach the blaze.

In order to keep the fire from spreading rapidly while crews are still on their way, Lawrence explained, “We’ve hit it with aircraft as much as we can.” 

Local crews as well as crews from out of the area are responding to the scene as quickly as possible.