Linn County Sheriff’s Office – 08/08/13
Linn County Undersheriff Bruce Riley reports deputies are investigating a suspicious death that occurred during a burglary of an abandoned plywood mill in Lyons.On August 6, 2013 at 12:16 P.M., the Linn County 9-1-1 Center received a call reporting a fire and the discovery of a body in a building currently operated by Hood Lumber. The building is located on Lyons- Mill City Drive and is commonly known as the former Young & Morgan Mill.Deputies learned the mill has not been operational for some time and that the caller was one of several employees on-site overseeing the removal of equipment from the building. Deputies learned Hood Lumber employees arrived at approximately 10:00 A.M. and smelled a slight odor of smoke. They looked around and initially did not find any fire.A couple of hours later, around noon, they began to see burning embers in the air and upon closer inspection, found a small fire in the upstairs portion at the north end of the building. They called 9-1-1 and extinguished the fire. While doing so, they discovered the remains of a severely burned human body.Deputies have identified the victim as Dustin Joe Harris, 36-years old, of Lyons.
The investigation reveals that during the early morning hours, Harris, acting alone, forced his way into the west end of the building by kicking in a wooden wall panel. Upon gaining entry, he attempted to steal copper wire from an electrical panel board. The panel board is equipped with 480 volt, 3-phase service.
Harris was electrocuted while trying to steal wire, which is also what caused the fire. His body was found 16 feet from the panel and articles of his clothing were found 30 feet away.
Autopsy results confirm Harris died from injuries he sustained in the explosion.
Linn Deputies were assisted by the Lyons Fire Department, Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office and Oregon State Police.
Weddle Funeral Home of Stayton removed the body from the scene.
The delay in this press release is due to making positive ID and family notification.