Tragic Loss for Washington State Patrol
Three State Patrol employees killed in Zillah house fire
Rob Kauder | Internet Content Manager, KXLY.com
Posted: 11:40 am PDT August 16, 2010Updated: 1:06 am PDT August 17, 2010
SPOKANE -- Three members of the Washington State Patrol are believed to have died in an early morning house fire in Zillah.
The State Patrol confirmed that Troopers Gary Miller and Kristopher Sperry and dispatcher Anne Miller-Hewitt died in the fire. Gary Miller and Anne Miller-Hewitt were married and owned the residence while Sperry, a recent academy graduate, was living with the Millers.
"Anne and Gary were long-time employees, and were the best of the best," State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste said in a statement Monday morning. "We were just getting to know Kristopher, but he had excelled at the Academy and had a very promising future with our agency."
The fire was first reported by Anne Miller-Hewitt at 1:38 a.m. She called 911 from inside the home to report there was a fire. The line went dead during the conversation.
Miller, 55, was a 20-year veteran of the Patrol and has been working with the Sunnyside detachment since he was hired. His wife Anne was a Communications Officer Four and was the leader of the State Patrol's 911 center in Wenatchee, where she supervised 15 dispatchers. She has been with the State Patrol since 1989.
Sperry, 30, was hired by the State Patrol in 2008 and just graduated from the academy in June, where he received a fitness award for being the most physically fit trainee in his class. Originally from Eureka, Montana Sperry was living with the Millers while his own home was being built.
"I am deeply saddened about the deaths of three Washington State Patrol employees - and send my heartfelt condolences to the friends, families and co-workers of those tragically killed," Governor Christine Gregoire said in a written statement Monday.
"These individuals dedicated their lives to protecting our neighbors and communities, and should forever be remembered for their commitment to ensuring our safety. I'm sure all Washingtonians share my profound gratitude for their service."
Late Monday night, investigators had recovered all three victims from the charred home.
The fire is being investigated by local fire officials, the Yakima County Sheriff's Office and the ATF. They are being assisted by the State Patrol's Crime Scene Response Team.
The State Patrol has never lost three employees in a single event either on or off-duty.
Three State Patrol employees killed in Zillah house fire - News Story - KXLY Spokane
R.I.P. Brothers and Sister.