April 5, 1995 in City

Neighbors Worry After Man’s Second Trailer Fire Blaze Blamed On Flammable Liquid; Victim Says Masked Men Did It

By The Spokesman-Review
 

David Janson’s neighbors are starting to wonder what’s going on.

Early Tuesday, the Spokane Valley man’s trailer home went up in flames, just weeks after another trailer he lived in was gutted by fire.

“None of it makes sense. It’s just beyond me,” said Rennie Doremire, a neighbor of Janson’s at University Mobile Home Park, 9518 E. Fourth.

“It scares the hell out of me,” said Ruth Ferguson, another neighbor, as she tiptoed barefoot through puddles of water left by the firefighters.

The first fire burned out the inside of Janson’s blue and white trailer at space No. 10 in the park.

The cause was never determined, said Valley Fire Inspector Eric Olson.

The second fire destroyed a light-colored trailer at space No. 38 1/2 just after 4 a.m. Tuesday.

Olson said the fire was caused by a flammable liquid spread around the trailer and ignited.

No one was injured. Janson and his daughters were taken to a motel by the Red Cross.

Janson told firefighters that masked men burst into his house Tuesday morning, sprayed gasoline everywhere and lit it.

Investigators, who interviewed Janson on Tuesday afternoon, have not confirmed that account.

All that remained of the trailer was aluminum siding, hanging in pieces from the building’s scorched frame. A creamcolored wooden fence surrounding the trailer was largely unmarked by the fire. On the pavement in front of the home were the melted remains of two white plastic chairs.

“I woke up to a pop sound,” said Marlana Miller, who lives behind Janson. The sides of her trailer were scorched and several of her windows were cracked by the fire. When she woke up, the burning trailer next door “looked like a sunrise,” she said.

Abbey, a black Labrador retriever trained to sniff out flammable liquids, was brought to the scene from the Post Falls Fire District to check Janson and his daughters for traces of combustibles, Inspector Olson said.

Nothing was detected on any member of the family, except Janson’s dog, found locked in a small gray Mercury Lynx across the street from the trailer.

Olson said a flammable liquid had been spilled on the dog.

A Spokane County Animal Control officer picked up the dog after neighbors forced the car door open and freed the animal.

Neighbors who had watched the fire earlier in the morning started to gather again when firefighters returned about 10 a.m. to extinguish new flames sparked by the wind.

“Last night we were lucky we didn’t have wind,” said neighbor Elsie Long.

“Now, we’ve got wind.”


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