- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 20, 2006



Unconscious workers pulled from manhole

Two construction workers were rescued yesterday after they were knocked unconscious at the bottom of a manhole in which they were working, fire officials said.

The men were working at about 1 p.m. in the 10100 block of Marlboro Pike in a new housing development when they both became unconscious, said Mark Brady, a spokesman for the fire department.

A third worker who was above ground tried to climb down to help but experienced difficulty breathing more than halfway down the 15- to 20-foot shaft, Mr. Brady said.

A breathing air resupply unit — responsible for refilling firefighters’ air tanks — placed a high-pressure air line into the sewer pipe to provide fresh air, Mr. Brady said.

One of the workers regained consciousness and was able to tie a rescue line to the other man, who had fallen into 2 to 3 feet of water. He was revived at a trauma center and was in critical but stable condition last night, Mr. Brady said.

The man who helped his co-worker was in serious but stable condition at a hospital. Both victims were removed from the manhole by 1:18 p.m.

The worker who tried to climb down was treated on the scene and taken to a hospital, where he was listed in good condition.

Mr. Brady said a fire department hazardous-materials team and the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health took readings at the site to determine what caused the men to lose consciousness.

He said low levels of an odorless, combustible liquid found at the bottom of the shaft will be tested.


Execution team’s adequacy questioned

A doctor testified yesterday that Maryland’s execution team is not qualified to know whether a person is adequately anesthetized before being put to death.

Dr. Mark Heath, an anesthesiologist at Columbia University, testified in federal court in Baltimore, where the state’s lethal-injection process is on trial.

U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg is hearing the case brought by attorneys for death-row inmate Vernon Evans.

The attorneys said Maryland’s lethal injection process violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Dr. Heath focused his testimony on the mechanics of the injection process, finding fault with various aspects.

Evans was sentenced to die for two murders in 1983. In February, Maryland’s Court of Appeals stayed his execution.



Man sentenced in slaying of officer

A homeless man who killed a Pentagon police officer during a carjacking attempt was sentenced yesterday to more than 31 years in prison.

Ossie K. LaRode, 23, pleaded guilty earlier this year to second-degree murder and firearms charges in the death last year of Officer James Feltis of the Pentagon Police Department — the first line-of-duty death in the force’s six-decade history.

LaRode had faced charges that could have carried the death penalty before striking a plea bargain in June and pleading guilty to lesser charges in U.S. District Court.

LaRode carjacked an elderly man at a restaurant parking lot in Alexandria on Jan. 11, 2005, and led police on a chase that wound through a Pentagon parking lot. Officer Feltis was trying to stop LaRode when he was struck.

The chase ended on a highway near the Pentagon, where LaRode grabbed one of the officers’ guns and fired several times before he was subdued.

Officer Feltis, a 12-year veteran who lived in northern Stafford County, never regained consciousness and died Feb. 14, 2005.


Man acquitted of setting forest fire

A judge ruled that a man did not intentionally start a fire that burned 1,100 acres of forest and forced the closing of a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway in March.

Bedford County General District Judge Harold A. Black ruled that Dennis Ham did not act with intent to start the fire when he dumped ashes from his wood stove on his property March 4.

Judge Black said prosecutors failed to prove that Mr. Ham’s actions showed a reckless disregard for human life.

The fire quickly spread in Bedford and Botetourt counties, eventually costing more than $700,000 to control. The National Park Service and the Virginia Department of Forestry collectively spent about $90,000.

The U.S. Forest Service likely will try to recover costs through a civil suit, Forest Service Capt. Woody Lipps said.

An 8-mile section of the parkway had to be closed while firefighters attempted to contain the blaze. It was put out after one week.


Unexploded ordnance found near day care

A day care center in Northeast was evacuated yesterday after a construction worker unearthed unexploded military ordnance nearby.

A thermos-sized artillery shell was found just after 2 p.m. at 42nd Street and Anacostia Avenue Northeast near the Kenilworth-Parkside Recreation Center where Fort Myer Construction Corp. was working on a new parking lot.

Twenty-one persons were evacuated from the Kenilworth Parkside Day Care while Army explosives personnel from Fort McNair and the D.C. bomb squad searched for more unexploded munitions, officials said.

Authorities determined that the shell was inoperable, and Army officials took it to Quantico, Va., for detonation. It was not clear how old the shell is or how it got in the area.

Alan Etter, a spokesman for the D.C. fire department, said authorities are concerned that there could be more unexploded weapons at the site. He said there will be an “extensive” search operation, which he said could be comparable to the investigation in the Spring Valley area near American University, after chemical weapons from the World War I era were found buried there in 1983.

Final 13 cameras to be deployed

D.C. police yesterday announced the locations of 13 additional neighborhood surveillance cameras, bringing the total to 48.

Seven of the new cameras will be in Southeast — at the intersection of 15th and East Capitol streets, the 4700 block of Alabama Avenue, the 5000 block of Benning Road, the 2300 block of Pitts Place, the intersection of Congress Street and Savannah Place, the intersection of Stevens and Wade roads and the 5100 block of Fitch Street Southeast. Others will be at the Northwest intersections of Wisconsin Avenue and P Street, 17th and Euclid streets, and Fourth and Shepherd streets; and in Northeast at the 3700 block of 12th Street, the 3900 block of 12th Street and the 1500 block of Kenilworth Avenue.

The D.C. Council authorized the use of the cameras and appropriated $2.3 million for them as part of a package of emergency anti-crime legislation passed in July.

The neighborhood cameras can be deployed during the 90 days in which the emergency legislation is in effect. Extending their use will require further action by the council.

From wire dispatches and staff reports



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