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Brush fire near apartments suspicious


A quiet week for the Spokane Valley Fire Department has firefighters wondering if the worst is yet to come.

During the week of June 17-23 there were only 13 fire calls and all were minor. “I don’t know if that’s the calm before the storm with fire season coming up,” said assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford. “I think we’re going to have a busy summer when things dry out.”

The only brush fire for the week was in the hills above the apartment complexes at Pines and Mansfield, an annual hotspot for suspicious fires. The fire was still small when it was spotted, Clifford said. “It was just in the surface fuels, the pine needles,” he said. The fire is considered suspicious and anyone with information on the fire is asked to call the department at (509) 928-1700.

One of the vehicle fires reported during the week was a bit out of the ordinary. A motorcycle rider called firefighters to the 4400 block of East Sprague Avenue the evening of June 23. “It backfired and flames were coming out of the carburetor,” he said. “We don’t really see motorcycle fires that often.”

Of the 224 total calls, 177 were for EMS and only two hazardous materials calls were received. The first came in when someone spotted fluid leaking from equipment involved in a sewer installation project in Otis Orchards. “It just ended up being water,” Clifford said. “They thought it was something different.”

The second call came after someone took two five-gallon buckets full of waste oil from a pickup and dumped it in the street. Clifford said he suspects children may have been involved. “School is out,” he said. “We tend to see interesting things happen in the summertime.”

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office called the fire department for help when they found the car of an elderly man with dementia at Camp Caro in Dishman Hills on June 19. They wanted the crew to use their thermal imaging camera to search the immediate area to see if the man could be located, Clifford said.

A young girl playing with a seat belt got herself into trouble the morning of June 21. The 3-year-old, who was strapped into a car seat, got tangled in the belt. “It was wrapped around her throat,” he said. “The strap had retracted and would not release.” Firefighters cut the seat belt and the child was unharmed.


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