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Northwood neighborhood hit by arsons

Two arsons and an attempted arson in the Northwood neighborhood of Spokane County over the past several days have firefighters and law officers on edge.

Patrols are being increased in the neighborhood, and residents of the northeast Spokane County area are being asked to keep a watchful eye for fires or suspicious persons.

In the first incident on Saturday or Sunday, the arsonist dumped out gasoline in beauty bark next to a home and ignited it.

The fire burned out and did not spread to the fire-proof siding, said Deputy Chief Doug Bleeker of Fire District No. 9.

On Sunday, another fire also started with gasoline was reported at 1:45 a.m. and spread to vinyl siding and into the wall of a home through a dryer vent. The fire was extinguished with no injuries.

On Tuesday, a woman resident got up before dawn to care for her baby and apparently scared off an arsonist, who had dumped about a quart of gasoline on the back deck near a sliding door.

“Neighbors need to have their eyes peeled,” Bleeker said. “Prevention is going to save people’s homes.”

Residents are asked to call the fire district at 466-4602 with any information or 911 if it is an emergency.

“We really want to get this stopped,” he said.

Bleeker said the fires are not likely related two wildfires last week in the wooded areas west of Northwood on the north side of the Spokane River.

Also, Spokane Valley firefighters have responded to two arsons along Fruithill Road to the east recently. Those apparently were started with paper and quickly put out, fire officials said.

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Then and Now: Comstock Park

James M. Comstock, born in 1838 in Wisconsin, arrived in Spokane in time to witness the great fire of 1889 and start Spokane Dry Goods with Robert Paterson. It became the Crescent, Spokane’s premier department store for a century. He also worked in real estate and owned other businesses. He served a term as Spokane mayor, starting in 1899. James Comstock died in 1918.