Crime

She was trying to stay warm in Bellingham, but the fire reportedly got away from her

A fire reportedly started by a woman attempting to stay warm early Tuesday underneath a Holly Street bridge near Marine Park burned out of control but caused only minimal damage to the bridge.

Bellingham Police booked Kathryn Lemke, 31, into Whatcom County Jail on Tuesday on suspicion of second-degree reckless burning and second-degree criminal trespass. According to jail records, she is being held in lieu of $2,000 bail.

According to information provided by Lt. Claudia Murphy, officers patrolling the area of the 500 block of West Holly Street saw a large cloud of smoke coming from underneath a city bridge at approximately 1:38 a.m. They found Lemke there, who told them that she made a fire to stay warm, and she lost control of it.

Bellingham Fire Department Battalion Chief Brody Loy told The Herald the fire was started in the same general location as a number of fires on previous occasions. Though it did create some heavy smoke and burned non-structural timber on the bridge, Loy said it was relatively minor and was quickly extinguished.

An inspection by the Public Works Street Division revealed no structural damage, though some old wood forms that had been left in place were damaged, spokesperson Amy Cloud told The Herald.

There was a “No Trespassing sign” right above the bridge and the location of the fire, Murphy said.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.
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