Thursday Afternoon News, February 20
Snow Makes For Slower Highway Travel
(Le Mars) -- Today's winter storm with the heavy snow and slushy conditions are making the highways slick to travel. Iowa State Patrol troopers John Farley and Vince Kurtz both say travel has slowed down due to the snow. Farley patrols the area from Sioux City and points to the south, and Kurtz patrols the northwest Iowa region north of Sioux City.
Both Highway Patrol officers report incidents where motorists have slid off the road and into roadway ditches, but so far, no severe accidents have been reported. Trooper Kurtz says motorists should not let down their guard.
Farley says the brunt of the winter snow storm with the heavier snowfall seems to be affecting those counties east and south of Woodbury and Plymouth Counties, and he offers some reminders to motorists traveling.
Rescue And Recovery Dive Team And Le Mars Fire Train For Water Rescues
(Le Mars) -- Imagine you are ice fishing on your favorite farm pond or area lake. You think the ice is solid enough to support your weight, but you hear the cracking beneath your feet. You begin to tip-toe your way on the frozen water, then without warning, the ice collapses causing you to fall into the freezing water. The Plymouth County Rescue and Recovery Divers team is prepared for such an incident. Last evening, the Rescue and Recovery divers, along with the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department, rehearsed such water rescues. The training session was held at the Le Mars Municipal Park Pond. Pat Hiessel serves as the captain for the water rescue unit. He says it is important the county's rescue and dive team practice such scenarios.
The unit consists of eleven volunteers under the direction of the Plymouth County Sheriff's office. Heissel says last evening's training session did not actually have anyone in the water.
Heissel says the rescue dive team is well equipped for any type of either ice or water rescue emergency.
Fortunately, the county Rescue and Recovery Divers have only had a few incidents in Plymouth County. However, Heissel says they have been called upon to help with water rescue operations in other counties.
Chemical Fire Causes Evacuation Of Northwood
NORTHWOOD, Iowa (AP) - Authorities are evacuating residents of a small northern Iowa city where firefighters are battling a chemical fire.
The Worth County Sheriff's Office says an evacuation order is in place for Northwood due to a fire Thursday morning at a fertilizer plant at Northwood Municipal Airport.
Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa in nearby Mason City says four people have sought treatment at the hospital. Their conditions have not been released.
A National Weather Service alert says the fire contains sulfuric acid.
The Mason City Globe Gazette reports several residents heard explosions when the fire broke out. Highway 105, a main artery in Northwood, was blocked off near the fire.
The Iowa State Patrol, Northwood police and the sheriff's department are assisting at the scene.
Northwood has about 2,000 residents.
Teen Saves Five Lives From Mobile Home Fire
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - A Dubuque teenager is being credited for her quick action in getting five young children safely out of a mobile home that burst into flames.
17-year-old Erica Weitz often cares for three of the children who lived in the home, but she took on two other children when their mothers asked for help because their baby sitters had backed out. That left Weitz with five kids, ages 1 through 7, on a Friday night last month.
Not long after a pizza arrived that night, she heard a sound in the bathroom and the trailer's lights flickered. She soon found flames in the ceiling over the bathroom.
Weitz called 911, got the kids bundled up and went out into the ice storm outside.
Woman Returns Car From Test Drive With Pipe Bomb
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - The Waterloo police bomb squad has destroyed a homemade pipe bomb that was found inside a car that had been returned from a test drive.
Officers had been dispatched to Liberty Car Co. on Wednesday because a woman had not returned the car she was testing. Officers talked to her and a man with her when she returned the vehicle.
Officers found the explosive device in the car. Capt. Tim Pillack (PIHL'-ak) said Thursday that the bomb squad used a "disruption device" to destroy the homemade bomb.
Police say the man was arrested on suspicion of drug possession and possession of an incendiary explosive device. Online court records don't yet list the case.
GLENWOOD, Iowa (AP) - A 35-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder, accused of ramming a pickup into a deputy's vehicle.
Myron Brandon also is charged with eluding and burglary. Jail records say Brandon remained in custody on Thursday. His attorney didn't return a call from The Associated Press.
A deputy who was responding to a reported break-in began pursuing the pickup near the scene in rural Hastings around 9 p.m. on Sunday. Authorities say the chase ended in farm field when Brandon rammed his truck into the deputy's SUV, disabling it. Authorities say that after the deputy got out, Brandon's truck struck near where the deputy was standing.
The deputy fired at the pickup, which was later found abandoned. Brandon was arrested nearby.
No injuries were reported.