January 30, 2010 in Washington Voices

Dog owners must handle some odor problems

By The Spokesman-Review

A strange odor launched another hazardous materials response from the Spokane Valley Fire Department the week of Jan. 21-27, but it had nothing to do with broccoli this time.

A man called a few minutes after midnight on Jan. 26 to report an unknown odor near his home. While firefighters were on their way, the man said it might be a skunk and that his dog “came running into the house with its mouth foaming,” said Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford.

It was, in fact, a skunk that was the culprit. A hosing off wouldn’t have helped the dog, which was sprayed in the face. “There’s nothing we can do,” Clifford said. “We have oxygen masks for animals, but that’s not the case where we would use it.”

In the future residents should pull out the tomato juice or hydrogen peroxide for a refreshing deodorizing bath and bypass the fire department.

Clifford advised residents to keep their dogs inside at night. “It’s so warm out, the skunks are all waking up,” he said.

Most of the eight other hazardous materials calls that came in involved leaking oil or spilled fuel. Three calls were from local gas stations reporting people who had overfilled their tanks, sometimes by several gallons worth.

There were 12 reported structure fires during the week, none of them causing much damage. Six fire alarms sounded, with burnt popcorn and human error causing most of them. Firefighters responded to 149 EMS calls and 16 vehicle collisions that sent six people to hospital with minor injuries.

Five service calls wrapped up the 197 calls for the week. Three of those service calls involved children locked inside cars, which may be a weekly record.

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