An Arlington apartment building run by an Everett-based mental-health and drug-treatment provider was evacuated yesterday after a methamphetamine lab exploded in one of the units...

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An Arlington apartment building run by an Everett-based mental-health and drug-treatment provider was evacuated yesterday after a methamphetamine lab exploded in one of the units.

A 20-year-old man suspected of causing the explosion and fire was booked into Snohomish County Jail on suspicion of manufacturing methamphetamine, Arlington Police Chief John Gray said.

It appears much of the low-income-housing fourplex, at 223 E. Burke Ave., could be contaminated, authorities said.

The man was piping toxic fumes into the attic to vent them out of his apartment, Gray said.


Fallen limb cuts off power on Capitol Hill

About 3,560 homes and businesses on Capitol Hill spent about 2-1/2 hours without power Sunday night when a fallen tree limb damaged electrical lines.

From about 7 until 9:30 p.m., areas between Boyer Avenue East and East Union Street, to the north and south, and from 28th Avenue East to Summit Avenue East, to the east and west, were without electricity, said Dan Williams, a spokesman for Seattle City Light.


No charges against police in airport death

Port of Seattle police who confronted a Seattle banker were not criminally responsible for the woman’s asphyxiation death, King County prosecutors said yesterday in declining to file criminal charges against the officers.

Desseria Whitmore, 52, died Oct. 25, 2003, after she choked on a baggie of cocaine that police said she’d swallowed after she was detained by airport-security personnel. The workers had found a pipe and a small amount of marijuana in her possession.

A mandatory inquest after Whitmore’s death acknowledged that though the officers who detained her were not criminally at fault, the struggle that ensued after she was asked to wait for police may have contributed to her death.


Police officers agree to city’s contract offer

Seattle police officers have approved a new contract offered by the city, the Seattle Police Officers Guild announced yesterday.

Police have been working for more than two years without a deal.

The new contract would grant officers a 10.5 percent pay increase over four years, including two years of retroactive pay. However, for the first time officers would be required to pay a portion of their medical costs.

The contract creates a new voluntary mediation process to resolve some citizen complaints against police officers.

The City Council’s approval is required for the new contract, to run through 2006, to take effect.


Judge won’t dismiss gender-bias lawsuit

A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit in which a U.S. Border Patrol employee who is undergoing a sex change has sued the government for discrimination.

U.S. District Judge Robert Whaley ruled against the motion by the federal government, allowing the lawsuit filed by Tracy Nichole Sturchio, formerly known as Ronald Sturchio, to proceed.

Attorneys for the federal government had argued that past decisions held that transsexuals were not members of a protected class under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That landmark federal law made it unlawful to discriminate against a person because of their sex, religion, race or national origin.

The government contended that Sturchio in her lawsuit never identified her sex, contending only that she was a “transgender person.”

But Whaley said she was being harassed because her co-workers wanted her to act like a male.

“It is clear from reading the complaint that [the] plaintiff is asserting that she is being harassed and discriminated against because her co-workers considered her as a biological male, and wanted her to act like one,” the judge wrote in his ruling Monday.

Times staff and news services