Across the area

Condominium blaze injures 4 firefighters

Four Augusta firefighters were injured Tuesday afternoon while responding to a fire that caused extensive damage to two units at a west Augusta condominium complex.

Battalion Chief Richard Burts said the firefighters suffered what appeared to be non-life-threatening injuries while fighting the blaze at West Wheeler Townhomes, near Wheeler Road. Three other units had minor damage, Chief Burts said.

Four residents of the 7300 block of Dorado Drive were displaced as a result of the blaze, which occurred shortly before 5 p.m., he said.

The firefighters, whose names weren't released, were taken to University Hospital and suffered burns and other injuries after ceilings in two units collapsed on them, Chief Burts said.

G.B. Hannan, a fire investigator, said he could not provide a cause for the fire. He said an investigation will probably continue for weeks. Chief Burts credited fire walls inside the complex for keeping the blaze from spreading.

Truck driver at fault in tip-over

A Waynesboro, Ga., man was charged Wednesday after the tractor-trailer he was driving overturned on an Interstate 20 off-ramp in Columbia County.

Frank Cooper, 42, was charged with traveling too fast for conditions when the gravel load in his Lovett Trucking Co. trailer shifted and caused the truck to overturn shortly before noon on the I-20 off-ramp at Lewiston Road near Grovetown, said Columbia County sheriff's Lt. Andy Shedd.

The off-ramp was closed briefly. Mr. Cooper was taken to an area hospital for an evaluation, Lt. Shedd said.

Bear is out of McDuffie County, official says

A bear spotted in McDuffie County near Thomson's city limits Tuesday afternoon is believed to have moved on, a Georgia Wildlife Resources Division official said Wednesday morning.

"It looks like he made his way out of town since yesterday," said wildlife biologist Vic VanSant, who was called out to search for the migrating bear. On Tuesday, the bear was believed to have holed up in a patch of woods during the daylight hours and likely waited for nightfall to resume his travels, Mr. VanSant said.

"We haven't seen it ourselves. Our stance is for everyone to avoid disturbing it or blocking its exit. It should then leave," he said. Black bears often wander long distances this time of year in efforts to seek out new territory.

Officials shut down pirate radio station

Officials with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office assisted the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday in shutting down what has been described as a pirate radio station.

Authorities confiscated electronic equipment from a house on Macon Street that was being used to broadcast hip-hop music and information on the local radio station 99.9 FM, said sheriff's Investigator Tony Hyatt. Richmond County Sgt. Richard Elim said the station was shut down for not having a license and broadcasting obscenities.

Investigator Hyatt said the FCC's role "was to pinpoint exactly where the signal was coming from." He said the station has relocated its operation at least once.

Arts council receives grant funds from city

The Greater Augusta Arts Council announced it has received $100,000 in grant funds from the city of Augusta to be distributed to arts organizations.

The arts council will grant the funds to applying organizations that meet certain criteria. Funds may be used for either general operating costs or specific programing and grants are available to performing, visual and literary arts organizations.

Augusta man struck, killed on Bobby Jones

An Augusta man died after being hit by a car early Wednesday.

Clarence Washington, 44, of the 3400 block of Charring Cross, was crossing the eastbound lanes of Bobby Jones Expressway at Deans Bridge Road on Wednesday morning when a Nissan Sentra traveling the same direction struck him, Richmond County Chief Deputy Coroner Mark Bowen said.

Mr. Washington went through the vehicle's windshield, landing in the front seat, Mr. Bowen said. He died about 1:30 a.m. at the scene. The driver and passenger in the Nissan were treated at Medical College of Georgia Hospital. The results of a toxicology test performed on Mr. Washington will not be available for several weeks, Mr. Bowen said.

Authorities search for copper, truck thieves

Authorities are searching for suspects accused of taking $30,000 worth of copper-coated wiring and two 18-wheeler trucks from Columbia and Burke counties.

Led by an anonymous tip, Burke County sheriff's investigators found the stolen property Tuesday evening in a wooded area off Georgia Highway 305 at the intersection of Highway 80, Burke County sheriff's Capt. Frankie Parker said. Investigators originally believed the 36 rolls of wiring were solid copper, but they later realized they were copper-coated and used for manufacturing tires, Capt. Parker said.

The two trucks were stolen from a Martinez trucking company off Wheeler Road in March, Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said. The trucks were completely stripped. Investigators found the 36,000 pounds of wiring in a trailer stolen from a Waynesboro truck company, Capt. Parker said.

Suspect surrenders to police in hotel robbery

An Augusta man turned himself in to authorities Tuesday involving a recent robbery at an Augusta hotel.

Thadddeus Demarco Bradshaw, 31, of Floyd Street, was charged in the June 11 armed robbery at the Microtel Inn on Gordon Highway, said Richmond County sheriff's Sgt. Calvin Chew.

Mr. Bradshaw is accused of entering the business holding a gun, wearing a white hood and demanding cash from an employee, police said. He reportedly ran from the site after receiving the money.

Sheriff Ronnie Strength said he received a Wednesday morning call from one of Mr. Bradshaw's friends who said the suspect wanted to turn himself in. Mr. Bradshaw is charged with felony possession of a firearm, armed robbery and financial transaction charges, according to jail records.

Sgt. Chew said it was not clear whether Mr. Bradshaw had any involvement in two other unsolved motel robberies in the area.

Traffic brief

Interstate 20, Richmond County

- The Georgia Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that it will close Washington Road's on and off ramps from 6 p.m. today until 7 a.m. Friday to install "rumble strips." The operation should not require more than one ramp to close at any time, a DOT news release says. The approximate time for each ramp closure is two hours, and a signed detour will be in place. Motorists are advised to use extra caution in construction work zones.

-- From staff reports