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Firefighters free teen from car after crash

Sat., June 13, 2009

A 16-year-old boy escaped serious injury in a car crash Tuesday that required Spokane Valley firefighters to cut away the passenger seat of his modified Volkswagen Beetle to free him from the wreckage.

“That could very easily have been a fatal accident,” Deputy Fire Marshal Bill Clifford said.

He said the boy was southbound on Flora Road about 4:30 p.m. when he ran a stop sign at Trent Avenue and was broadsided by a westbound pickup traveling about 55 mph.

“It just center-punched it,” Clifford said of the truck’s impact on the ruined Beetle. “It was pretty well smashed-up on the driver’s side.”

He said the boy, who was using a seatbelt, complained of severe abdominal pain and a head laceration, and was taken to Deaconess Medical Center.

“He ended up being all right … but he could have been killed in a high-velocity crash into a small car like that,” Clifford said. “He got very lucky.”

The rescue was among 11 vehicle accidents and 211 calls of all types to the Spokane Valley Fire Department in the seven days that ended Wednesday night. The crashes sent four people to hospitals with moderate injuries.

Firefighters responded to 11 reports of structure fires. Most were minor, but two more serious fires – both on June 4 – remained under investigation late this week.

Fire “pretty much consumed” the office area of Anderson’s Sheet Metal, 13903 E. Trent Ave., Clifford said. The blaze was reported by a clerk at a nearby Tesoro gasoline convenience store shortly before 1 a.m.

Then, about 5:50 a.m., a fire outside a home at 1102 S. Burns Road worked its way up a wall and into the attic through the eaves. Clifford said a neighbor alerted the occupants after smelling smoke and discovering the fire. No one was injured.

Clifford asked anyone with information about two small arson fires to call the fire department at (509) 928-1700. In one case, someone set fire to a plastic newspaper tube at 6925 E. 11th Ave. about 12:30 a.m. Sunday. In the other, someone ignited a small amount of diesel on the Centennial Trail near Flora Road and Mission Avenue about 10:40 a.m. June 5.

The diesel caught fire in only one of two spots where it was poured onto the asphalt trail. Clifford said firefighters found matches in the puddle that didn’t burn. There was no damage to the trail.

The department also responded to 173 medical emergencies, a couple of downed power lines, five small brush fires, two illegal trash fires and six false alarms.

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