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Fire department specialty tools get workout

A firefighter’s tool box is a curious thing with oddities you just can’t find at Peters Hardware. Take for example a wedding ring cutter. A couple of times a month, Spokane Valley Fire Department has to cut a ring off someone’s finger, either because of an emergency procedure or because someone calls the station with a stuck band on a swollen hand.

Firefighters were called out June 7 to remove a ring from the swollen hand of an elderly person in the 7700 block of Sinto Avenue. The call came in shortly after 6 p.m.

Cutters capable of clipping handcuffs were another firefighter tool called upon last week when a teenage boy in the 8500 block of East Broadway Avenue called 911 on June 7. Firefighters suspected the handcuffs had been placed on the teen by police because of the bracelets’ industrial quality. Responders didn’t know if they could get them off without injuring the teen and weren’t sure if they should be removing them at all, but then the teen’s father called explaining that he had the keys to the cuffs and would bring them to the location of the call.

The final tool call of the week involved a special heat sensing camera, which had to be used June 10 after residents in the 4800 block of North Calvin detected a suspicious electrical heat smell in their home. The smell was coming from inside a wall, where someone doing remodeling had driven a construction staple into a wire servicing a baseboard heater. Firefighters avoided tearing the entire wall apart by scanning the wall with the camera. The call came in at 7:45 a.m.

In all, there were 197 calls for service between June 5 and June 11, down from 224 calls the previous week.

Firefighters responded to a car-house collision on June 7 at the corner of Grace Avenue and Argonne Road where a 64-year-old female driver left the road and crashed into a house shortly before 10:30 a.m. The woman, LuDetta L. Frisby, was taken to the hospital by ambulance and later died. The Argonne Road wreck was one of two car wrecks that firefighters responded to requiring ambulance rides. On two other vehicle accident calls victims got their own rides to the hospital.

There were a few brush fire calls last week, raising concerns that with dry weather on the way and Independence Day around the corner, more calls are likely.

Firefighters responded to a burn barrel fire June 9 in the 4800 block of East Sixth Avenue. Burn barrels are illegal in Spokane Valley.

There also was an unattended fire spotted in the Dishman Hills Natural Area. Campfires aren’t allowed in the natural area.

There was a brush fire June 8 along the railroad tracks in Millwood just west of Argonne Road. Firefighters found a spent firework in the area and suspect that was the cause. Fireworks are illegal in Spokane Valley and rural Spokane County.

There were 16 fire alarm calls last week, including a call at Spokane Valley Mall, where lawn workers clipped a piece of fire sprinkler plumbing.