Firefighters remove ailing woman’s ring

Spokane Valley firefighters helped an elderly woman remove her wedding ring from a swollen finger in a relatively uneventful week.

Deputy Fire Marshal Bill Clifford said the woman was suffering from severe arthritis and swollen joints when a hospice worker called the Spokane Valley Fire Department on Wednesday to remove the wedding band the woman had worn for 60 years.

He said firefighters carry jeweler’s ring cutters in their tool kits for such occasions.

Other calls for general service in the reporting period that ended Wednesday night included a child locked in a vehicle and a report of a downed power line that turned out to be a telephone utility box someone had driven over.

There were 18 vehicle accidents, in which five people were taken to hospitals with moderate injuries. Also, Clifford said, parents of two teenagers were advised to consult family physicians when the teens complained of minor neck pain after their school bus was involved in a low-speed collision about 7:30 a.m. Monday.

Gene Marsh, transportation supervisor for the Central Valley School District, said a woman rear-ended a relatively full bus that was carrying students to University High School when it stopped at a railroad crossing near the corner of Bowdish and Dishman-Mica roads. Marsh said the woman’s car probably was going less than 10 mph when she was distracted and ran into the bus.

In all, firefighters responded to 227 calls, of which 174 were medical emergencies.

Clifford said two of 16 reported structure fires actually were illegal yard-waste fires, and all of the actual structure fires were minor.

Three reports of brush fires included an illegal slash fire in Fire District 8’s territory. The only call that came in as an illegal trash fire was found to be a legal recreational fire.

There were two vehicle fires and a report of a third that couldn’t be found.

In a June 4 hazardous-materials call, firefighters tried unsuccessfully to locate a “rotten-egg” odor – possibly a natural gas leak – that was reported on Fourth Avenue between Farr and University roads.

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