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Quick work with garden hose keeps trailer fire from spreading

Tue., Sept. 13, 2005

Two men wielding a garden hose held back a fire in a camping trailer Monday until firefighters arrived, possibly saving a neighbor’s mobile home next to it, a fire official said.

“That thing was blazing pretty good,” said Mike Jury, visiting from the Seattle area.

Just after 9 a.m., Jury’s host Larry Mertins walked to the corner of Greenacres and East DeSmet Avenue to bring in his daughter’s bicycle.

He looked up to see smoke pouring from a 1960s-era camper and ran across the street to tell the owner.

No one was home.

So Mertins and Jury grabbed the hose, pulled it across the street and sprayed down the trailer.

When a window shattered, they poured water inside.

“I just started shooting the water in through the flames,” Mertins said.

Firefighters arrived minutes later and quickly put it out.

“The garden hose was keeping it from getting too far away,” said Capt. Bruce Hamner of the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Both the mobile home and a boat within several feet of the fire were unscathed.

Out to have a flat tire fixed, homeowner J.C. Zundel had only been gone a few minutes when the fire happened.

“I really appreciate them,” Zundel said of Jury and Mertins later that day.

“They did a lot.”

The blaze appeared to have started with a wiring problem in the walls of the camper, said fire investigator Clifton Mehaffey.


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