Winters public safety officials seeking info on fire incident

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Crews from the Winters Fire and Police Departments responded to a fire call on Monday, Nov. 29 which triggered a lockdown of nearby schools when a suspected individual fled the area.

Fire Chief Brad L. Lopez told the Express they received a call on Monday for a possible fire in the area of Foxglove Circle at 1:23 p.m.

According to Lopez, when the Winters Fire crew arrived on scene they found a small area of bark mulch material had been set on fire and quickly extinguished it.

Police Chief John P. Miller said Winters Police officers assisted Winters Fire, and were told by witnesses in the area that a suspect was seen running toward Cottage Circle and Winters Middle School.

The suspected individual was described as a white male adult wearing a black shirt and pants with a red hat.

Miller said due to proximity to the investigation and out of an abundance of caution, WMS and Shirley Rominger Intermediate School were advised to activate the school district’s lockdown procedures while officers searched for the subject both in the area and on campus. During their search, Miller said they received additional information from the Winters Fire crew that the subject was armed with a knife and a pipe.

Superintendent Diana Jiménez confirmed that Winters police conducted a thorough walkthrough of both campuses and determined it was safe to resume normal school activities. The lockdown was initiated at 1:21 p.m. on the Rominger site and at 1:23 p.m. at WMS. Both campuses were given the all-clear to life the lockdown by 1:48 p.m.

Miller said the open channels of communication with the school administrators made the process run smooth. Jiménez gave thanks to Winters PD for their swift and professional response to ensure the safety of their students and staff. Jiménez said the school district was proud of their administrators, staff and students who followed the district safety protocols.

“Scholar, staff and community safety is our highest priority, and we truly value our partnership with local law enforcement,” Jiménez said.

As of Tuesday morning, Miller said the suspect remained at large. If any residents have information regarding the incident they are advised to call Winters PD at 530-795-4561.

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