July 18, 2009 in Washington Voices

Handcuffs, clipboard hard to put down

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A pair of 8-year-old boys learned a painful lesson last week. Don’t play with handcuffs unless you have a key.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department was called to an apartment complex at 6321 E. Fourth Ave. on July 9 in response to a mother’s call about her son and his friends playing with handcuffs. Two boys had locked themselves together. Firefighters searched the grassy area where the boys had been playing, but were unable to find the key, said assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford. The firefighters used a Leatherman tool and a little cooking oil to release the boys from their confinement.

A little lubricant was also needed on July 10 for a call in the 23000 block of South Bannen to help a 5-year-old girl with her finger stuck in the hole of a clipboard. “The parents weren’t able to get her finger out,” Clifford said. Some lubricant allowed firefighters to “wiggle it out of the hole.”

Spokane Valley Fire responded to a total of 237 calls the week of July 9-15, a higher number than usual. Thirteen structure fires were reported, but only a few were worthy of note. A fire was reported at the Transfer Station on Sullivan Road at 8:30 a.m. July 9 and was quickly extinguished. The business reopened but firefighters were called back later. “A couple of people were complaining of sore throats,” Clifford said.

An investigation revealed that a business had illegally dropped off some hazardous chemicals that started the initial fire. Hazardous waste is supposed to be taken to a disposal site located next to the Transfer Station. The city of Spokane Hazmat Team was called in and the station was shut down for the rest of the day so the chemicals could be cleaned up. One employee was taken to the hospital with breathing problems, Clifford said.

Someone set a fire in a trash bin behind Ness Elementary at 2:44 a.m. July 10. No damage was done to the school, but anyone with information about the fire is asked to call the department at 928-1700.

A fire in law offices at 2206 N. Pines Road reported at 5 a.m. Wednesday appeared to have been caused by a faulty bathroom fan. There was widespread smoke damage, but significantly less damage from the smoldering fire.

The department was also called to send paramedics to City Services Valcon, a fuel company, at 18826 E. Appleway at 9:25 p.m. on July 9 while the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office detonated a suspicious device.

Other calls included a report of a chemical odor that turned out to be someone burning trash in a barrel. No one was home to watch the barrel and firefighters put it out, Clifford said. “Burn barrels are illegal,” he said.

An illegal fire was reported at 1003 N. Greenacres Road the afternoon of July 12. A homeowner apparently piled construction debris and carpet padding on a concrete slab and lit it on fire. He put out the fire when told it was illegal, Clifford said.

There were 171 calls for medical assistance and 23 car accidents that resulted in 14 trips to the hospital. One accident at Trent and McDonald on July 9 involved a car that was rear-ended by a dump truck and then hit broadside by another car. One person had to be cut from the car. “They removed the roof of the vehicle,” Clifford said.

During the week a car caught fire after its carburetor flooded. Firefighters responded four times to downed power lines, once for a leaking propane tank and once for a natural gas leak.

Only one child had to be rescued from a locked car.

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