LaPine man Cited for Interfering with Fire Department

Deschutes Co. Sheriff's Office 

On June 13, 2020 at approximately 1:09 a.m., Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Deputies responded to a structural fire at High Lakes Towing and Recovery located at 15770 Burgess Rd in La Pine. Upon arrival, Deputies discovered the west half of the shop at High Lakes Towing was fully engulfed with flames extending through the roof. Several vehicles near the shop along with a 5th Wheel RV were also engulfed in flames. Nearby residents were quickly evacuated for their safety.

Eddie Newingham who is an employee of High Lakes Towing, was refusing to leave the burning structure due to his concerns over a missing cat. Firefighting efforts to save the burning building were temporarily halted due to Newingham repeatedly exiting and re-entered the building while looking for his cat.  Newingham exhibited an aggressive and confrontational demeanor towards law enforcement during their attempts to gain his cooperation. 

Newingham was ordered to leave the burning building numerous times, but continued to do so while armed with 2 long handle axes that he used to menace law enforcement deputies who approached him.  

Newingham was eventually cordoned off from the burning shop in an adjacent fenced in area. Newingham was coaxed into relinquishing the axes he was carrying, and deputies used further deescalation techniques to calm Newingham's aggressive behavior. 

La Pine firefighters were able to extinguish the fire in the burning vehicles and building, but not before extensive damage was done. Total losses to property at this point are unknown. The owner of High Lakes Towing was out of town but was notified by phone of the damage to his business. The fire is believed to have been caused by welding repairs being performed on a RV parked next to the shop. Newingham was not cooperative with questions regarding the fire.

Newingham was given a criminal citation to appear in Bend Circuit Court on the above listed charges.

The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office would like to thank La Pine Fire Department, Oregon State Police and Sunriver Police Department for their assistance with this incident.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is a full service agency that oversees the adult jail, provides patrol, criminal investigations, civil process and search and rescue operations. Special units include SWAT, Street Crimes, Marine Patrol, ATV Patrol, Forest Patrol, along with six K9 teams. Founded in 1916 and today led by your duly elected Sheriff L. Shane Nelson, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office serves the nearly 190,000 residents in Deschutes County. The agency has 230 authorized and funded personnel, which includes 187 sworn employees who provide services to the 3,055 square miles of Deschutes County.