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After fire, home electricity turned on again


Coulee Dam police and fire officials discovered last Thursday that a resident had possibly jumped an electrical meter that had been turned off after a Dec. 5 garage fire.

Town officials had turned the meter off at 415 North Columbia and requested that a licensed electrician check the residence to see if it was safe to turn electricity back on.

Three days later, town officials checked the house after lights were seen on in an upstairs room and in the kitchen area.

Police officer Mike Sullivan, fire officials and a person from public works advised resident Tim Wilging that they were going to go into the backyard. At the time, Wilging was on the garage roof fixing shingles that had been damaged during the fire.

There, police said, town officials found that the lock on the meter had been cut and marks indicated that a jumper had been used to restore power to the residence.

Town officials contacted Nespelem Valley Electric, whose personnel disconnected power at the transformer.

Interim police Chief Larry Hall said Tuesday that a report is being sent to the Okanogan County Prosecutor’s Office for possible charges.

“I finally got it back on yesterday,” Wilging said Tuesday after getting the electricity inspected, noting he’d gone seven days without heat.

He said it was “still a mystery” how the fire had started in the back yard while he was away.

Wilging said he had heard of rumors that illicit drugs were being sold out of his home. “Couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said.

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