vehicle fire.jpg

A station wagon caught fire Sunday north of Chelan. Authorities say the driver tried to steal a pickup belonging to the fire crews putting out the fire in his car.

CHELAN — An Ephrata man tried to steal a fire district’s pickup while crews worked to put out his burning car alongside Highway 97.

Firefighters with Chelan Fire and Rescue were called at 11:13 p.m. Sunday to milepost 240 five miles north of Chelan where a station wagon was fully engulfed in flames, the department said in a news release.

As they were working to keep the fire from spreading into brush, a Chelan County deputy saw 41-year-old Timothy Vincent Ellis climb into the district’s pickup and had his hand on the gear shift when the deputy began pulling him out of the truck, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Chelan County Superior Court.

The deputy believed Ellis to be highly intoxicated; troopers with the Washington State Patrol later determined that Ellis was the driver of the station wagon, the affidavit said.

Ellis was arrested on suspicion of attempted theft of a motor vehicle, DUI and second-degree driving with a suspended license. He was booked into the Chelan County Regional Justice Center.

Ellis was expected to make a preliminary appearance Monday afternoon in Superior Court.

Pete O’Cain: (509) 664-7152 or

on Twitter@peterocain