BURNEY, Calif.

Two of 14 wildfires in state draw firefighters’ focus

A pair of wildfires burning without restraint about 8 miles apart in northeast California became the focus of state and federal firefighters Sunday as authorities reported that one of the blazes had destroyed eight homes and prompted the precautionary evacuation of a small long-term care hospital.

The two fires, among 14 burning in the state, started within a day of each other in Lassen National Forest and had expanded into private property and scorched 90 square miles as of Sunday morning, up from 39 square miles a day earlier.

The more destructive of the two was threatening the town of Burney, where officials at Mayer Memorial Hospital decided to evacuate their 49-bed annex for patients with dementia and other conditions requiring skilled nursing.

PETROLIA, Calif.

Discovery of skeletal remains ends search for mom, 2 girls

Officials say their search for a man suspected of killing his wife and two young daughters last year has ended with the discovery of skeletal remains on a Northern California riverbank.

Shasta County sheriff’s Detective Dave Eoff said dental records confirmed Sunday that the remains belonged to Shane Miller, who had been wanted for questioning since his wife, Sandy, and the couple’s 8-year-old and 5-year-old daughters, were shot to death in their home in the rural community of Shingletown in May 2013.

Eoff says an anonymous tip Friday led authorities to the grisly find.

TOTOWA, N.J.

Eggnog vat, heating device explode, blow out food lab

A fire official says a mechanical failure apparently caused two explosions at a food laboratory in northern New Jersey, leaving two workers with cuts and bruises.

Totowa Fire Marshal Allen Del Vecchio tells The Star-Ledger he felt the blast from Pharmachem Laboratories in Totowa at his house a mile away.

Pharmachem produces ingredients that flavor foods. Workers say they had just started on a new recipe for eggnog when the blast occurred.

Del Vecchio says the first explosion apparently came from a furnace-like device that was heating a vat containing eggnog flavoring ingredients. A subsequent blast apparently involved a pocket of hot air or gas that had built up inside the vat.

The entire rear of the building was blown out.

Del Vecchio said several people could have been killed in the blast, had it not been a weekend when only a skeleton crew was present.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.

Woman charged in slapping of police patrol horse

A Scottsdale, Arizona, woman is being charged after police say she slapped one of their patrol horses.

KTVK-TV reported Saturday that Scottsdale police charged 25-year-old Selma Iris Gonzalez with intent to kill or harm a service animal, which could qualify as a felony. Authorities say Gonzalez smacked Greyhawk the horse in the rear July 19.

— From news service reports