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Officials: Neon lights cause Spokane Valley Mall fire

A crew works on top of the Spokane Valley Mall on Monday, July 6, 2009, where a morning electrical fire damaged the facade. The fire was just above Tilt, the video game arcade, which will reopen once the facade is repaired.  (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
A crew works on top of the Spokane Valley Mall on Monday, July 6, 2009, where a morning electrical fire damaged the facade. The fire was just above Tilt, the video game arcade, which will reopen once the facade is repaired. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

A Spokane Valley Mall fire that burned part of the building’s exterior was caused by the failure of neon lighting on the outside of the structure near the theaters, fire officials said this afternoon.

The fire exposed about a 20-foot-by-10-foot section on the exterior of the mall’s second floor that can be seen from Interstate 90.

Bill Clifford, a spokesman for Spokane Valley Fire Department, said Tilt, the mall arcade suffered a small amount of smoke damage. The two other nearby stores, Payless Shoes and Deb, a clothing store, were not harmed.

The mall opened at its usual time of 10 a.m., Clifford said.

Daryl Rheinghans, mall general manager, said: “This is a fluke thing.” The mall is owned by General Growth Properties.

Mall security called 911 at about 6:30 a.m. after seeing smoke coming from the roof, Clifford said. The fire was upgraded and more units were sent when flames became visible. About 25 firefighters responded. No one was injured.

A firefighter said he didn’t see any interior damage to the stores. Clifford said the three stores will remain closed until fire investigators can determine the extent of any smoke damage. Regal Cinemas was not affected.



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