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Firefighters called out to 11 vehicle crashes

Moose on I-90 results in death of driver, 19

Spokane Valley firefighters responded to 11 vehicle accidents in the past week, including a fatal collision involving a moose.

The fatal accident occurred shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday on Interstate 90 just west of the Idaho state line. Spokane Valley resident Alexandra E. Phillips, 19, was killed by a pickup when she got out of her car after colliding with a moose.

According to the Washington State Patrol, Phillips was standing in the freeway median when another Spokane Valley motorist, 24-year-old Lindsey E. Carr, also struck the moose and careened into Phillips’ car and then Phillips herself.

Carr wasn’t injured, nor were the occupants of two more eastbound vehicles that subsequently ran into the moose.

Deputy Fire Marshal Bill Clifford said two other accidents show the need for motorists to be on the lookout for children on bicycles as the weather improves.

He said a 13-year-old boy was struck at low to moderate speed May 5 while riding his bicycle across McDonald Road at the corner of Eighth Avenue. The boy apparently was not seriously injured, but was taken to a hospital for observation.

Clifford said witnesses, including the driver who struck the boy, said he appeared to have jumped off his bike just before the collision.

A 15-year-old boy was struck by a sport utility vehicle shortly after 8 a.m. Monday while riding his bicycle on Argonne Road, near Mission Avenue.

Details of the collision weren’t available, but Clifford said the boy was taken to Deaconess Medical Center with hip and abdominal pain.

In all, four people were taken to hospitals because of vehicle accidents in the seven-day reporting period that ended Wednesday night.

Among 215 calls in the period, there were 17 reports of structure fires.

One of the most worrisome was a fire set Tuesday evening by teenagers who broke into a vacant, century-old building at 12204 E. Sprague Ave.

Several businesses in other old buildings would have been threatened if the fire in a pile of combustible materials hadn’t been extinguished before it could spread.

The building where the fire was set had been vacant since it was gutted by fire in 2003. It and other buildings in what was once the commercial center of the Opportunity Township are awaiting demolition for a new Rite Aid store at Sprague and Pines Road.

Clifford said witnesses saw three teenagers leave the building when the fire broke out about 7:45 p.m. He asked anyone with information about the arson to call (509) 242-TIPS or call the Fire Department at (509) 928-1700.

He also appealed for information in a fire that was set earlier Tuesday, about 1:45 p.m., in a rail car loading ramp made of creosote-soaked railroad ties at 4315 E. Sprague Ave., near Havana Street.

Clifford said a resident of the King’s Court Mobile Home Park, 4706 E. First Ave., was lucky to escape uninjured when fire destroyed his single-wide mobile home shortly after 7:30 p.m. Sunday. He said the soot-covered man was awakened by the heat of a fire that broke out near his bed when a candle burned through a plastic candleholder and ignited a plastic table. The loss was estimated at $3,000.

A sleeping woman also was lucky Wednesday evening when wind apparently overturned an ash tray outside her home at 8502 E. Marietta Ave., Clifford said. A cigarette butt ignited bushes next to the house, but a passer-by saw the fire about 6:30 p.m. and extinguished it with a garden hose.

Clifford suggested using ash trays designed for outdoor use or putting some water in outdoor ash trays to make sure cigarettes are completely extinguished.

Another close call occurred Tuesday afternoon when grease-fed flames belched out of a barbecue grill on a porch at 11112 E. 17th Ave. Paint on the house was blistered, but the fire didn’t spread to the home and no one was injured, Clifford said.

Barbecues should be kept at least 10 feet away from houses. Also, propane tanks, connections and hoses should be inspected before grills are fired up for the first time each year, Clifford advised.

He said other calls included three brush fires, all intentionally set, seven automatic alarms, all false or minor, and 173 medical emergencies.

Two reports of vehicle fires included an overheated motor and an engine-compartment fire that was extinguished before firefighters arrived.

One hazardous-materials call occurred Wednesday evening when a resident at 23510 E. Sharp Ave. sliced through a three-quarter-inch gas line with a shovel.

Call before you dig, Clifford urged. The numbers are 811, or (800) 424-5555. More information is available at www.callbeforeyoudig.org.

Two calls for general service involved a water leak in a convenience store and a child accidentally locked in a car.

John Craig can be contacted at johnc@spokesman.com.


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