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Sand buildup from leaking pipe blamed for foundry roof collapse

A buildup of sand on the roof of a building in the Spokane Valley Industrial Park caused a roof to partially collapse last week, but luckily no one was standing underneath the section that gave way.

Spokane Valley Fire Department crews were called on Aug. 19 to Spokane Foundry in the park off Sullivan Road. Administrative Capt. Jeff Bordwell said the business uses a pipe on the roof of the building to transfer sand from one end of the building to the other and uses between 10,000 and 30,000 pounds of sand a day. The pipe had a hole in it, which was repaired. At some point after the repair was inspected, the fix failed and sand began to leak out of the pipe.

“It built up a pile of sand on the roof,” Bordwell said. “It’s a lot more condensed than a snow load.” So much weight concentrated in one area caused the roof to give way. No one was injured.

The hot weather during the week ending Wednesday only led to one significant fire. Flames were spotted in the area behind a motel just north of Interstate 90 near the westbound Argonne exit on Aug. 24. There was a lot of grass and trees that were extremely dry on a vacant lot, Bordwell said.

“We have a transient camp and that appeared to be the origin,” he said. The exact cause of the one-acre fire has not yet been determined.

Even though temperatures are falling, Bordwell said, the fire danger is still extremely high and people need to be careful not to spark a blaze. “Everything is still dried out,” he said.

Fire crews responded to 166 EMS calls out of the 217 calls for the week. Other incidents included an overflowing water tank near Liberty Lake that sent water gushing down the road, and a man in a wheelchair who was stuck in loose dirt behind his barn. “We had to go out and help him out of it,” Bordwell said. “Luckily he had a cell phone on him, otherwise he might still be there.”


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