Fire Believed to Be From a Homeless Encampment Burned Near Garberville Today

Kym Kemp / Tuesday, July 15 @ 5:44 p.m. /  Fire!

Firefighters finish mopping up a fire behind the old Garberville School. [Photo by Shanda Centeno]

According to Cal Fire Captain John Jones, a fire started around noon near Garberville today. Jones said that the cause of the fire is still under investigation but there are indications that a unattended cooking fire from a homeless encampment started the incident. 

The fire which began south of the new College of the Redwoods campus on the outskirts of town burned about a 1/4 acre before being totally controlled around 1 p.m. Two hand crews totaling approximately 30 people were provided by the California Department of Corrections. Garberville Volunteer Fire Department sent an engine and Cal Fire sent three with their crews and one battalion chief. 

The site had multiple vehicles which, Jones said, had probably been broken down there for many years. More photos of the incident by photographer Kim Sallaway can be seen here.

A line of fire vehicles stretch along Hwy 101 by Garberville in response to a fire attributed to a homeless camp. [Photo by Shanda Centeno.]


Fire at Sequoia Gas Storage Building in Fortuna Squelched This Evening

Kym Kemp / Monday, July 14 @ 9:16 p.m. /  Fire!

Readers are reporting there was a fire at a Sequoia Gas Company building on Pond Street in Fortuna about 8 p.m. A spokesperson at Fortuna Fire was able to confirm that the fire was out but did not have details about the incident.

According to scanner traffic, a single story metal storage building with tanks inside had smoke coming from the roof. 

Scanner talk indicated that traffic was temporarily blocked on Newburg Road at Randolph Way and for northbound traffic at the 12th Street offramp from Hwy 101. The overpass at 12th Street was temporarily shut down also.

Skeletal Remains Probably From This Year, Said Deputy Coroner

Kym Kemp / Monday, July 14 @ 8:39 p.m. /  News

The skeletal remains found near Burr Valley Road this Saturday are most likely from a person who died no earlier than “a few months after the first of the year,” Humboldt County Deputy Coroner Roy Horton stated today. Horton said he has done only a preliminary examination and an anthropologist will be brought in to examine the remains later this week.

As of this point, even the sex of the skeleton has not yet been confirmed so attempts to identify the individual could take some time. Right now, Horton said, the Coroner’s Office is gathering descriptions of people missing who may have been in the area in order to be prepared, hopefully, to match the description with the information about the remains that the anthropologist is able to provide.

Horton said family members of several missing persons have already been in touch with his office.

The intact skeleton which, according to Horton was wearing only a few “unidentifiable scraps of clothing” was found by two hikers on the Little Van Duzen River. The river, Horton said, was low due to the drought. Horton described the two hikers as “fairly young individuals” that liked to explore.  He said that during the course of their exploration the hikers observed the remains of a human body and reported the situation. The remains, he said, were in a difficult area to reach.

On Sunday, Horton said, a little before noon, the remains were secured in a body bag, placed in a Stokes basket and helicoptered out of where they had been found by the California Highway Patrol. The Humboldt County Coroner’s Office retrieved them from the Dinsmore airport and brought them to Eureka where they will be examined.




Vegetation Fire South of Piercy/North of Confusion Hill

Kym Kemp / Monday, July 14 @ 2:44 p.m. /  Fire!

Cal Fire out of Fortuna has confirmed there is a vegetation fire south of Piercy. They have dispatched several engines to the fire. However, the incident is being handled by Howard Forest Cal Fire station. We are still attempting to get information from them.

Scanner traffic says the fire is near Bear Pen Road. A passerby said that she can see the smoke from where exit 271 leaves Hwy 101 to the east. She can see CHP and fire engines headed into that area.

Random Citizen, SoHum’s Newest Hero, Removes Tree Blocking Redwood Drive

Kym Kemp / Monday, July 14 @ 11:52 a.m. /  News

Only the bark remained in the roadway after Random Citizen pulled a fallen tree off the road. [Photo by Danielle Young]

A redwood tree fell this morning around 9:20 a.m. towards the southern outskirts of Redway near Dazey’s. The tree temporarily blocked the road until, according to the California Highway Patrol dispatch, a “random citizen just pulled the tree out of the road.”  

Thanks, Random Citizen! (What a great superhero name!) We appreciate you.

If anyone knows the (not) secret identity of Random Citizen, we’d love to know, too. 

[UPDATE] Skeletal Remains Found in River Near Burr Valley Road

Kym Kemp / Sunday, July 13 @ 8:16 a.m. /  News

UPDATE 8 pm Sunday: Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Press Release:

On 07/12/2014 at approximately 4:25 PM, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by a citizen who reported that they had discovered human remains in the middle of a waterway. The remains were discovered by two citizens while hiking in an area west of Dinsmore off of HWY 36. Detectives from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office along with the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office are currently on scene and efforts to recover the body are underway. The age, sex, and identity of the body are unknown at this time along with the cause of death. 

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.


Original Post: Scanner traffic on Saturday evening indicated that skeletal remains were found in a waterway near Burr Valley Road. The exact details were difficult to determine and the Lost Coast Outpost has a request into the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office for more information.

However, we can tell from the scanner that the remains, as of yesterday evening, were in the middle of a river or stream and couldn’t be easily accessed.

According to the scanner, about 6:56 p.m. what appears to be a Humboldt County deputy described the scene he says is only ten feet away. He stated, “The river is very narrow, shallow. And it’s a very steep canyon. It is skeletal remains. It appears the whole body snagged. There possibly could be undergarments on the body still, with some skin off the back and down one leg.”

The deputy’s first idea was to use a helicopter to recover the body. However, this was unable to happen yesterday. In the end, more deputies were sent out to secure the scene. Presumably the body will be removed sometime today and taken to the coroner’s office.


Missing Man’s Phone Last Pinged off Bloody Camp Cell Tower Near Hoopa

Kym Kemp / Friday, July 11 @ 6:23 p.m. /  Missing

Missing person flyer being handed out to help find Jeff Joseph.

According to Chris Cook of Cook and Associates, the phone of Jeff Joseph, a Louisiana man who is believed missing in the area, last pinged off a cell tower in the Bloody Camp area of Hoopa on June 21 about 11:20 a.m. Cook’s private investigations agency, has been retained by Joseph’s family to help with the search. So far information that she has gathered from phone records and calls made by him on the 20th and 21st have offered some clues as to what areas of Northern California need to be checked.

Information provided by the family, Cook said, indicates that Joseph, left Southern California with the intention of heading eventually to property he leased downriver of Weitchpec. Joseph’s phone records show cell phone tower pinging that is consistent with him driving up I-5 on the 20th and apparently stopping in Sacramento for some time.

Then, later, the cell tower records show a ping from near Williams. But Cook says they don’t know what route he took from there. Cook said that Joseph made a call to an acquaintance on the East Coast about 7:30 a.m. on the 21st and shortly later texted a friend in Louisiana. The first acquaintance stated that Joseph said he driven all night from Southern California, he was in good spirits and “killing time” waiting to meet up with someone. The next ping from Joseph’s phone comes about 11:20 a.m. from the Bloody Camp Cell Tower. The cell tower is about 20 miles from Joseph’s intended destination and provides coverage for a large area. 

There has been no phone activity since 11:20 on the morning of the 21st, Cook noted. But the phone records have been helpful. “It narrows down our search somewhat,” Cook explained.

So far, she said, several law enforcement agencies have helped search. “The Highway Patrol has been very helpful,” she explained. “They have searched the area more than once by plane.”

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department is also working to find Joseph, Cook explained, and interviewed several subjects known to Jeff Joseph. “My job is to make sure everyone knows what each agency is doing,” she said.

Joseph’s missing person case was originally initiated in Ventura County because his brother lives there but a case was also opened with Los Angeles Police Department because Joseph had a residence in that area so those agencies are also involved in the investigation

David Joseph, the missing man’s brother, came up to the Humboldt area for two days. “Searching those roads seems like it is a job for professionals,” he noted.  People have told him that it isn’t safe for him to search the area himself. “Seems like there is a lot of tension in that area,” he said.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, he said, was supposed to have searched his brother’s place yesterday. The current tenants would not allow him to go there himself.

Cook and Joseph’s family are asking the public for help. “It would be helpful to know [Jeff Joseph’s] route,” Cook said.  He wasn’t only going to his property he was intending on meeting someone in Humboldt County prior to going to his place. Cook wonders, did anyone see Joseph’s 1998 green RAV4 or did they see him? Did he drive across on Hwy 36 or 299? Did he go to the Coast first and then head back towards Weitchpec? The more we know, she said, the quicker we can zoom in on answers for Joseph’s worried family.