Emergency service workers keep Keizer safe

Last week, Jan. 15 – 19, Keizer saw a lot of inclement weather from snow and ice to freezing rain resulting in the closing of school and businesses for the better part of the week, though Keizer’s emergency service workers received no such relief.

With less than 100 people between the Keizer Fire District, Keizer Police Department and Public Works, these few continued going to work to make sure the city still ran. 

According to Keizer Public Works director, Bill Lawyer, Public Works received around 17 calls for service over the week relating to frozen water lines affecting residences in the city as well as a downed street sign. 

Lawyer noted that the freezing that occurred was isolated to the houses themselves and no water meters were affected by the frost. 

The Keizer Fire District saw an increase in the amount of calls they had over the week of bad weather with 143 calls coming in which, when averaged out over the week, resulted in around 24 calls a day, five to six more calls each day than usual. 

From medical issues to building issues the district encountered it all with some noted highlights being their response to a series of ice-related falls from citizens as well as three buildings needing help with the sprinkler systems due to burst pipes, according to Deputy Fire Marshall Ann Marie Storms.

Storms also noted that the crews working last week handled the adverse weather well through chains on their tires as well as traction devices for their boots. 

The Keizer Police Department had its fair share of winter weather work as well, even being some of the few city employees who went to work that Tuesday, Jan. 16.

Overall, Lt. Tim Hein of the Keizer Police noted that there were relatively few reported crashes and traffic issues due to the weather having many staying home as well as safer driving practices used during the poor weather. 

Hein noted that no police reported crashes or issues due to the careful driving and snow chains used by officers still out on the road. 

From the two divisions at work consistently last week, the patrol and traffic safety departments, Hein noted several events the Keizer Police responded to in the poor weather. 

On Tuesday, Jan. 16, a Keizer mother reported her son as a runaway. Officer Eli Kuzmenko located the juvenile who reported he left his home because he was being abused by his stepfather. 

There were no injuries present and the juvenile was taken to a relative for the night. 

The Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) was contacted and the report was initially investigated by Kuzmenko, though the investigation is currently still ongoing.  

The next day, Wed, Jan. 17, Keizer Police responded to another call for a missing person. The caller reported their 44-year-old differently-abled step son had left their residence. Officers responding to the call searched the area and located the missing person near their residence shortly after the initial call was made. 

Keizer Police also responded to a reported crash in Keizer Station where a vehicle hit a small tree then drove off. The caller was able to provide the license plate of the involved vehicle, revealing it to be registered in Keizer. 

Officer Martin Powell traveled to the home address to wait for the driver while Officer Jorge Miranda investigated the crash scene. 

The determination officers made was that a hit-and-run had occurred and Powell made contact with the driver as they passed by their residence. 

Powell stopped the vehicle and determined the driver to be impaired while driving. The driver was arrested for DUII and failure to perform the duties of a driver which resulted in property damage. 

The driver was nearly double the legal limit.

Contact Quinn Stoddard
[email protected] or 503-390-1051

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