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Man escapes blaze, thanks to quick-thinking neighbors

A neighborhood telephone list may have saved a sleeping Spokane Valley man’s life early Saturday when neighbors called, alerting him that the house was on fire.

Neighbors were awakened by what sounded like an explosion shortly before 2:30 a.m., said Spokane Valley Fire Chief Mike Thompson, and saw the home next door at 3507 S. Ridgeview Drive on fire.

As they left their house, they grabbed a neighborhood contact list, and their phone call woke the man sleeping in the basement. He was able to escape. A dog, however, died in the fire.

The home was a total loss, and the neighboring house sustained minor damage.

Thompson said the homeowners are on vacation and their son was staying in the house.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but it does not appear to be suspicious, Thompson said. “There’s so much destruction, it’s going to take awhile to put things together.”

Nina Culver

Northern lightning sparks several small wildfires

Thunderstorms in northeast and north-central Washington sparked 34 fires Saturday, and more may be on the horizon as the chance of storms continues today.

“We have just been running on a lot of little teeny fires,” said Jill Jones, of the Department of Natural Resources. “We managed to get on them quickly.”

Three fires sparked by lightning Thursday near Nespelem continue, already burning more than 1,000 acres.

National Weather Service forecaster Steve Bodnar said the storm front, which has been mostly stationary in the northern mountainous regions, will begin to drift to the southeast today.

“We’ll probably have scattered thunderstorms through most of the afternoon,” he said.

Some areas received heavy rain as well, but there’s always a risk of fire when lightning strikes, he said.

Nina Culver


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