Voices

Structure fires, brush blazes among calls keeping crews busy for the week

Between filling in at Spokane Fire stations during the Whitley Fuel fire and the routine calls across the Valley, it’s been an eventful two weeks for emergency personnel at the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

On July 23, Valley crews helped man stations in Spokane under a mutual-aid agreement while much of the Spokane Fire Department was battling a fire at the Whitley Fuel storage facility in North Spokane.

Between July 17 and 30, the department also handled 18 reports of structure fires in the Valley, said department spokesman Bill Clifford.

Many of those calls came in following a windstorm on July 19 that downed six power lines, he said.

Also, on July 24 a neighbor smelled smoke coming from the adjacent property and used a garden hose to extinguish a fire on the deck of a duplex at 1016 N. Best Road, Clifford said.

According to a fire investigation, someone had sprayed WD-40 on a bee nest in a planter on the deck and lighted it, Clifford said. Embers from the fire smoldered overnight and eventually burned through the planter, lighting the deck on fire, he said.

In similar incidents recently, fires have been started by people extinguishing cigarettes in potting soil. Clifford said it is unwise to put ignited material in planters or landscaped areas.

Other reports of smoke turned out to be illegal fires, Clifford said, reminding residents that there is a countywide burn ban in effect because of high-risk fire conditions.

There were 17 brush fires reported during the two-week period, he said, though none threatened any structures.

Additionally, the department handled two car fires, two trash fires and nine alarm systems.

On July 21, firefighters prepared for a technical rescue at the Liberty Lake ORV Park when a cyclist fell down a hillside. The cyclist and his companion, though, were able to get out of the park where the victim was treated for minor injuries, Clifford said.

There were 24 vehicle accidents reported, with 10 requiring transportation to the hospital by ambulance.

Just after 10 p.m., July 21 a vehicle hit a power pole at 2108 N. Houk Road, Clifford said. Firefighters had to extract the driver, who escaped with minor injuries.

The department responded to six hazardous materials calls, including a truck with a severed gas line spilling fuel along westbound Interstate 90 near the Sprague Avenue exit July 18, Clifford said.

In another incident, firefighters were called when a backyard propane tank began venting gas. The tanks are designed to vent when the pressure inside them becomes too great, said Clifford, who reminding barbecuers to keep fuel tanks out of direct sunlight.

Four service calls and 343 emergency medical calls rounded out the two-week period for a total of 426 calls, Clifford said.



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