January 6, 2009 in City

Firefighters busy with gas leaks, roof collapses and fires

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Brian Schaeffer photo

A Spokane firefighter from Station 13 provides medical care and oxygen to the dog and two cats injured at a house fire at 5720 N. G. St. today.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

Firefighters rescued a dog and two cats from a fire earlier today at 5720 N. G St.

The blaze appears to have ignited in the home’s basement. The three people in the home were able to escape, said Spokane Fire Assistant Chief Brian Schaeffer.

The house suffered extensive damage, but it was not destroyed. The residents, an adult and two children, will stay with family, Schaeffer said.

The cause has not been determined, officials said.

Earlier today, a 100-by-130 roof collapsed under 3 feet of snow at Five Mile Business Park, 6619 N. Cedar St., about 5:30 a.m., officials said. The building behind it, which is about the same size, is also in danger of collapsing, Schaeffer said.

Crews also have responded to roof collapses of residential garages and outbuildings.

Firefighters went to Stevens Elementary and Shuck’s Truck this morning to check on reported gas leaks.

Spokane County Fire District 8 responded to a house fire about 1:30 a.m. at 408 S. Dyer St. No other details were available.

Schaeffer said as the moisture continues in the area he expects gas leaks and roof collapses to be worse than now. Already, more than 30 roofs have collapsed in Spokane.

Firefighters early this afternoon were called to Big R store, 15228 N. Newport Highway, on a potential roof collapse.

Craigslist.org today has about 100 offers of people willing to shovel roofs.

Some businesses are being cautious. At a Target Store at Northpointe Shopping Center, a small number of customers were asked to leave the store for a short time while a structural engineer and workers checked the roof.

Manager Steve Asher said the store has a steel girder roof that the engineer said is capable of holding a load of snow, but that the store was taking extra precautions by removing the buildup. “We’re removing it just to be safe,” he said.

Also, they’ve been clearing drains of ice to allow snow melt to flow off of the roof rather than build up, Asher said.

Four Ziggy’s stores also closed so workers could remove snow from their roofs. They expect to reopen on Thursday. The Ziggy’s store in Spokane Valley is still open.

Forecasters concerned about the weight of the region’s snowpack on roofs said today that records show that this month’s snow load is below the amount of weight at the peak of last winter’s storms.

On Monday, the Weather Service measured 4.2 inches of water in the snowpack compared with 5.1 inches of water last February. The heaviest snow pack apparently was in February 1969 when 6.9 inches of water was measured in the snow.

Each inch of water weighs about 5.2 pounds per square foot, making the current snow load on the ground about 22 pounds per square foot. Roofs in Spokane are required to hold 30 pounds per square foot, and residential roofs are capable of holding more. The 1969 snowpack weighed about 36 pounds per squre foot.


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