Lincoln Co. first responders battle bad weather while serving the community

Jan. 19—First responders in South Lincoln County answered the bell once again last weekend as they dealt with extreme cold and slick roads, among other things, while answering a variety of calls.

Libby Volunteer Fire Department crews battled a structure fire Saturday night while enduring temperatures 20 degrees below zero.

According to a report from Fire Chief Steve Lauer, a 40-foot by 60-foot shop was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived at about 8:45 p.m. to the property on Parmenter Creek Road.

Twenty-two firefighters, one engine and three water tenders were on scene at the fire for an hour. With the air temperature at minus-24 degrees, Lauer reported crews had to deal with apparatus functioning issues, freezing air lines and water lines. No firefighters were injured while battling the blaze.

The estimated loss of the shop, which was in use, is $250,000. The cause of the fire is unknown.

At about the same time, several law officers from the county Sheriff's Office and city police were involved in a pursuit of a man Saturday night throughout the south part of the county.

According to a press release from Libby Chief of Police Cody Ercanbrack, Caleb Covey, 37, is listed in critical condition at Kootenai Health in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho after Covey had several self-inflicted wounds following a wild incident that began in Libby and ended in Bonner County, Idaho on Highway 200.

The chase came to an end soon after Sanders County Sheriff's Office deputies were able to successfully deploy spike strips. After running over the strips Covey continued south on deflated tires and eventually on rims. He drove west on Highway 200 into Idaho where Covey was apprehended by the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.

Lincoln County deputies rendered lifesaving medical aid to Covey before transporting him to meet a responding ambulance. He was transferred to a ground ambulance which then met an air ambulance which took him to Kootenai Health.

"Thanks to a well-coordinated effort between all agencies involved, this incident was brought to a safe resolution," Lincoln County Sheriff Darren Short said. "Kudo's to all of the officers involved for their professionalism and restraint and thanks to the community for your support"

Then on Sunday evening, Libby Volunteer Ambulance crew members took an older man to Cabinet Peaks Medical Center after a two-vehicle accident in the heart of town.

"Our highly trained officers and deputies will do all they can to stop any danger to the public as soon as possible," Ercanbrack said. "We are so grateful for our wonderful and brave community that we have the honor of serving. We are also thankful for our law enforcement partners who assisted with this case."