News briefs


Wreck near Porterville leaves motorcyclist dead

One person was killed in a motorcycle accident Saturday night on Highway 165 just east of Highway 137 near Porterville.

The California Highway Patrol said the rider, who was not identified, was still breathing when officers were called, but died a short time later.

Officers had no details on the accident.

35-year-old Fresno man killed in motorcycle crash

A 35-year-old Fresno man was killed Saturday when a motorcycle he was riding collided with a car on Highway 49 at Road 601 west of Oakhurst in Madera County.

The accident was reported shortly before 10 a.m.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating.

Ammonia leak at Malaga plant sends 5 to hospital

An ammonia leak Saturday at a recycling plant in Malaga sent five people to the hospital.

They were treated at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno and released.

They were exposed to fumes from an ammonia leak at Bruno's Iron and Metal on South Golden State Boulevard in Malaga.

About 20 other other people, mainly employees, were checked out at the plant by emergency medical personnel and then allowed to leave, said Chris Curtice, a spokesman for the Fresno County Sheriff's Department.

The leak occurred about 9:30 a.m. when a piece of moving equipment at the plant accidentally knocked over a 50-gallon drum, causing a valve to open, Curtice said.

Three employees and two customers were taken to the hospital by ambulance after they complained of feeling dizzy, and having trouble breathing and burning throats.

The plant, which opened at 8 a.m. and was scheduled to close at 2:30 p.m., was shut down and employees and customers were evacuated until Cal Fire personnel took control of the situation.

Dozens of arriving customers, their vehicles loaded with scrap metal, were turned away at the gate after they were notified of the incident.

Fresno drunken driving checks lead to 9 arrests

Nine motorists were arrested Friday night at a DUI and driver's license checkpoint in west-central Fresno, police reported.

The checkpoint was set up at Belmont and Delno avenues and also led to 46 vehicles being impounded when the drivers were found without a license, Sgt. John Chandler said Saturday.

Firebaugh man in critical condition after accident

A Firebaugh man remained in critical condition Saturday at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno after a motorcycle he was riding collided with a farm tractor Friday morning west of Mendota.

Manuel Lara, 22, was traveling south on Fairfax Avenue south of Belmont Avenue about 6:45 a.m. when a tractor, also traveling south on the east dirt shoulder, turned left across Fairfax in front of the motorcycle, California Highway Patrol officers reported.

The driver of the tractor, Javier Martinez, 53, of Firebaugh, was not injured.

Police said he told officers he did not see the motorcycle because of another vehicle on the road.

Officials say body moved after man died in theft

A man who was found dead Friday in Orosi is believed to have died when he fell at a different location while trying to steal copper wire from a wind machine, Tulare County sheriff's investigators said Saturday.

Detectives said an autopsy Friday afternoon determined that Jose Salas, an Orosi man in his 20s, died of head injuries caused by blunt-force trauma due to a fall.

Investigators said deputies were dispatched shortly after 1:30 a.m. Friday to an address in Orosi regarding a man not breathing. The address was not made public.

When deputies arrived, they determined that the man, later identified as Salas, was dead.

Investigators determined that Salas was stealing copper wire from a wind machine in northern Tulare County when he fell, detectives said.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the detectives unit at (559) 733-6523.

Goshen man arrested after 10-mile police chase

A 20-year-old Goshen man was arrested Friday night after he allegedly led Visalia police on a 10-mile chase before he drove to his home.

Officers were at St. John's Parkway and Ben Maddox Way shortly before 10 p.m. when they tried to stop a motorist for reckless driving, police said Saturday.

The driver -- later identified as Leonel Baca -- refused to stop, police said.

Baca is accused of trying to hit the police cars with his car on two occasions during the chase.

Baca was booked on suspicion of felony evading, assault with a deadly weapon and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.


Electrical blaze results after tree branch falls

An electrical short caused when a tree branch fell on a power line was blamed for a fire early Saturday at a home in central Fresno.

Fresno Fire Department investigators estimated the amount of the damage at $50,000. No injuries were reported.

The fire was reported at 1:37 a.m. at 115 N. Calaveras St.

Arson blamed in Fresno fire causing $25k damage

Arson was responsible for a fire early Saturday that caused an estimated $25,000 damage to the outside rear wall at Fresno Assembly Church in east-central Fresno, fire investigators said.

The fire was reported at 2:28 a.m. at the church at 3120 E. Clay Ave.

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call the deputy fire marshal at (559) 621-4440 or Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-STOP.

10 displaced by fire at their Visalia home

Red Cross volunteers were summoned to help 10 people displaced from their Visalia home Saturday after an attic fire, Visalia fire officials reported.

No one was injured in the 9:30 a.m. blaze at 1203 N. Ben Maddox Way.

It was caused by an electrical problem, investigators said. The fire was found smoldering inside the attic space near an electrical panel.

Six adults and four children were displaced.

The amount of the damage was estimated at $40,000 to the structure and $1,000 to the contents.