Man Jumps Out of Window to Escape Fire in Ashland

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Mon, March 19 2012 at 6:51 PM, Updated: Mon, March 19 2012 at 8:15 PM

Greg Manthe and his cat Yosha are fortunate.

"He was pretty freaked out, but here we are now," said Manthe early Monday morning.

He's counting his blessings after a large fire broke out around 2:50 Monday morning in the stairwell right outside of his apartment  which overlooks Lithia Plaza.

"I thought somebody was just smoking at first," recalled Manthe.

As smoke built up, he realized he could be in danger. That's when he said he called 911 and got out of his apartment.

"Put my hand on the doorway and it was hot so I [...] went out a window, grabbed Yosha and he scratched me on the way out."

He was a bit bloody, but okay.

Monday, Ashland Police continued to investigate the fire. They said three people were in the building at the time of the fire, but they were not hurt. 

Authorities said they arrested 37-year-old Raymond Lee Wilson, a transient who they say set fire to the building then went on a crime spree through Ashland.

"There was also a business burglary last night," said Deputy Chief Corey Falls with the Ashland Police Department.

Police said Wilson stole energy drinks, tobacco and glass pipes from a store then vandalized a car and another business.

Wilson is in the Jackson County Jail, charged with three counts of reckless endangerment in the first degree, three counts of mischief, burglary, menacing and theft.

Ashland Police said it's possible the laundry list of charges could get longer as they continue their investigation.

NBC 5 spoke with jail staff who said when Wilson arrived, they could not photograph him because they say he had mental issues. When we asked specifically about those issue, staff said they could not go into detail.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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