Fire breaks out at VAFB tower
VANDENBERG — A fire broke out in the elevator shaft area of a rocket tower at Vandenberg Air Force Base Thursday afternoon as it was undergoing deconstruction, authorities said.
The Vandenberg Fire Department responded to the area around 10 a.m. Thursday. Images of the fire showed heavy black smoke billowing into the area and flames seen near the top of the tower. Fire officials said the tower was being deconstructed when the blaze occurred.
Firefighters climbed 13 floors in the tower to ensure the fire was extinguished on every level. No injuries were reported, authorities said.
The site was most recently used for United Launch Alliance’s Delta II rockets. It has since been leased to Firefly Aerospace, which is based in Texas.
No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is under investigation.
— Mitchell White
Pursuit suspect linked to bank robbery
LOMPOC — The Detroit, Mich., man arrested Thursday following a high-speed pursuit that ended at Vandenberg Air Force Base was also connected to a bank robbery this week in Lompoc, police said.
Maurice Antwion Pilgrim, 19, was booked into the Lompoc Jail Thursday after being arrested by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department following the pursuit. He was arrested by Lompoc police on suspicion of robbery and is facing an additional robbery charge from the Guadalupe Police Department.
On Tuesday morning, Mr. Pilgrim allegedly robbed the Coast Hills Federal Credit Union and the vehicle’s description and license plate was shared with local law enforcement.
On Thursday, Guadalupe police reported a robbery at a bank in their city. The suspect fled in a similar matching vehicle and a pursuit ensued near State Route 1. A traffic stop was attempted but Mr. Pilgrim did not stop until the vehicle became disabled at the Vandenberg Air Force Base visitor center. Mr. Pilgrim fled on foot but was quickly arrested, police said.
He was booked by the Sheriff’s Office on suspicion of evading a peace officer.
— Mitchell White