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John Thiry, from Oak Knoll to today

Aug. 24, 2010 — Oak Knoll Fire burns 11 Ashland houses. Medford Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Mark James Burns suffers severe lung damage from smoke inhalation while battling the fire.

Aug. 25, 2010 — Ashland homeless man John David Thiry is charged with 24 counts total of reckless endangerment and reckless burning. He is accused of flicking a cigarette into dried weeds and grass, starting the Oak Knoll fire.

 Dec. 10, 2010 — A judge finds Thiry not guilty of all charges, saying Thiry was not aware of the danger of his actions because of mental illness. Jan. 22, 2011 — Thiry throws a traffic pin off an Ashland overpass onto Interstate 5. March 9, 2011 — Thiry is convicted of first-degree throwing an object off an overpass. He is given credit for time served in jail while awaiting the outcome of the case and released. May 10, 2011 — Thiry throws rocks at two girls on an Ashland bike path, striking one in the head and back, and threatens to kill them. Tighe O'Meara, currently Ashland's police chief, tries to have Thiry committed to a mental institution, but a judge rules the threshold has not been met for involuntary commitment. July 28, 2011 — Thiry is found guilty of two counts of menacing, harassment and disorderly conduct. He serves two weeks of an eight-month sentence and is granted early release from jail due to overcrowding. March 6, 2016 — Firefighter Mark Burns passes away after a long illness, having never recovered from the lung damage he suffered during the Oak Knoll fire. May 25, 2016 — The Oregon Fire Policy Committee officially determines Mark Burns' death was caused by injuries he suffered in the line of duty. His name will be added to a state Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial. June 29, 2016 — Thiry walks through the Oregon Shakespeare Festival campus in Ashland making death threats, alarming an African American actor who fears the threats may be racially motivated. Police decline to arrest Thiry, citing his mental illness. Current — Ashland police continue to arrest and cite Thiry numerous times each month for drinking alcohol and consuming drugs in public, trespassing, disorderly conduct and other behavior.

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January 2011
May 2011