October 9, 2007 in City

Stove-fueled fire damages North Side home

By The Spokesman-Review
 

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Jules St. Clair had invested about $20,000 in music equipment and was starting to form a band. All that went up in smoke Monday evening when his home caught fire.

The 20-year-old was fixing dinner just after 6 p.m. when he left the kitchen to play with his dog. When St. Clair returned, the stove was on fire, he said.

He tried putting the blaze out with a kitchen towel. It caught fire. He tried another. It caught fire. By then, the flames had spread to the floor.

That’s when St. Clair and his roommate, 19-year-old Josh Vrieling, ran out the front door. When fire crews arrived about 6:20 p.m. and fought the flames that engulfed 1118 W. Providence Ave., St. Clair could only watch in disbelief.

“This thing ain’t supposed to happen to me,” St. Clair said. “This happens to crackheads and stuff.”

The fire quickly spread, raging up the wooden siding and grazing the neighboring home. Firefighters sprayed water on 1114 W. Providence to keep it from catching fire, said Battalion Chief Steve Sabo, of the Spokane Fire Department.

It took 24 firefighters to knock down the blaze in about 15 minutes and search the house for any unreported occupants.

There was nobody inside and there were no injuries, Sabo said.

“We’ve got an investigator checking to make sure that there weren’t any other possible causes, but it appears cooking-related at this time,” Sabo said of the blaze.

The blue house, nestled under a few pine trees, was almost entirely charred by the time firefighters slowed down and started searching for hot spots. Fire officials estimated damage to be at least $50,000.

Vrieling’s parents own the house, St. Clair said.

Most likely burned were not only St. Clair’s music equipment, but everything he’s worked to buy in the past few years.

“All my clothes, and a TV, computers,” he said. “Everything of value, really, in my life. Everything I have.”

He planned to stay at a friend’s home Monday night.


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