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Air quality factor in many fire calls

Stagnant air accounted for most of the fire calls last week in the Spokane Valley.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department didn’t have a single actual fire among seven reports of structure fires, four of which were caused by sightings of ordinary chimney smoke trapped by a layer of cold air and fog.

Deputy Fire Marshal Bill Clifford said firefighters responded to a broken water pipe Sunday morning that was a delayed response to the heavy snowfall that collapsed numerous roofs earlier this month. When the roof finally succumbed on the shuttered Jerry’s Quick Stop at 23905 E. Wellesley Ave., it broke a water pipe in the ceiling.

Firefighters were alerted when water poured out the front door of the vacant building. Clifford said firefighters shut off the water and left a note of explanation on the counter. The property owner was notified by telephone on Monday.

No damage estimate was available.

Another broken water pipe was caused by a forklift, not winter weather. Clifford said firefighters were alerted by an automatic alarm as well as a telephone call when a forklift struck a fire sprinkler head in Building 11 at the Spokane Industrial Park, 3808 N. Sullivan Road, about 10 a.m. Jan. 16.

Eight other automatic alarms were false or the result of burned food.

Perhaps the most dramatic of 192 calls in the seven days that ended Wednesday night was a Jan. 16 train derailment along Euclid Avenue, just west of Argonne Road, but railroad workers had the situation in hand when firefighters arrived. Clifford said the derailed box cars contained newsprint to be recycled at the Inland Empire Paper Co. mill in Millwood.

Three hazardous-materials calls were minor: fluid on a roadway after a car crash and two reports of natural gas odors. A gas leak was repaired in one case, and no problem was found in the other.

Clifford said nine vehicle accidents sent three people to hospitals with injuries that weren’t life-threatening. Separately, there were 161 calls for emergency medical service.

Three calls for general service included a set of keys locked inside a vehicle Tuesday afternoon at the Spokane Valley police station. Clifford didn’t know whether the car was equipped with flashing lights.

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