Five people were displaced by a fire in Yucca Valley Tuesday morning. Yucca Valley firefighters were called to a structure fire in the 7600 block of Cibola Trail at 7:44 a.m. and arrived to find heavy smoke and flames in the garage.
Fire crews from Yucca Valley, Yucca Mesa, and Joshua Tree made an aggressive attack and kept the fire from spreading into the home. The flames were knocked down in about 25 minutes.
However, the home suffered major smoke and heat damage, as well as extensive damage to the attic and crawl spaces by firefighters in their efforts to put out the flames.
Battalion Chief Donnie Viloria said this is the second fire at this location in less than three months. On October 29, fire crews responded to the same address for a fire that was burning several outbuildings and an addition at the back of the house home.
An investigator has been called in to determine the cause of the fire. While the cause of Tuesday’s blaze is still unknown, Viloria said it was not due to electrical problems since there was no power going to the building.
Red Cross has been called in to assist the residents in finding a new place to live.
The family of the Canadian hiker who went missing in Joshua Tree National Park in 2018 has confirmed that the remains found last month are his. Paul Miller, 51, was last seen July 13, 2018, when he told his wife he wanted one more hike before returning to Canada. Authorities quickly found his rental car in the 49 Palms Oasis parking lot, but despite hundreds of searchers spending thousands of hours looking for him, he was not found until December 19, 2019. Miller’s family had hired a private firm to search the oasis and surrounding area with a drone. An analysis of the photos found evidence of human remains in a steep and rocky area located far away from any trails. Sheriff’s deputies and park rangers hiked to the location in December and located and retrieved the remains. The San Bernardino County coroner’s office notified the family that the remains were Paul Miller.
A Yucca Valley man was arrested Monday morning following a high-speed pursuit. During a Sheriff’s investigation of a December 15 burglary in Joshua Tree, detectives developed leads indicating that Keith Hencel, 39, was a suspect in the burglary. An arrest warrant was issued for Hencel, and detectives located him driving a Chevrolet pick-up truck in the Home Depot parking lot in Yucca Valley about 9 a.m. Monday. When deputies attempted to pull over Hencel, he fled westbound on the highway at a high rate of speed. During an area check, deputies found and apprehended Hencel inside the Dollar Tree store in the 58100 block of 29 Palms Highway. A search of Hencel resulted in deputies finding heroin in his possession. Keith Hencel was arrested on his warrants and for investigation of possession of heroin for sale, booked into West Valley Detention Center, and is being held without bail for violating the terms of his post release community supervision.
Two men were arrested Sunday following a traffic stop in Twentynine Palms. When a deputy stopped a vehicle near Highway 62 and Encelia Avenue in Twentynine Palms about 11 p.m., the passenger fled on foot. After a short pursuit, deputies apprehended Joseph Gonzalez, 29, of Twentynine Palms, who was wanted on a warrant. When deputies returned to the car, the driver, Michael McElroy, of Yucca Valley, 35, had fled. Deputies saw on the in plain view an empty gun holster and bullets. Deputies made an area check and found the gun and McElroy. Joseph Gonzalez was arrested for investigation of possession of a firearm by a felon and removing the serial number from a firearm. He was booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $50,000. Michael McElroy was arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $100,000.
Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council met last night to catch up on business
and hear a presentation from the Mojave Water Agency. Reporter Heather Clisby
evening, the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council launched a new decade
with discussion around water. Tom McCarthy of the Mojave Water Agency
presented, “Water and the Morongo Basin: Past, Present and Future.” The 20-
minute presentation gave a history of the 60-year-old agency, discussed current
pipelines and the future of water in the Basin.
meeting included reports from County Fire, Morongo Valley C.S.D. Fire and the
Sheriffs Department, who noted an uptick in stolen cars this past month. Wayne
Hamilton from the Morongo Basin Haven talked about the ‘Point in Time’ effort
to conduct a count of homeless in order to receive much-needed funding from the
state. The count will take place on January 23rd and much-needed volunteers
will be trained on the 16th. The link to sign up can be found at the bottom of
next MAC meeting will be held on Monday, February 10 at the Joshua Tree