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Valley may seek Clean Air’s help on illegal outside fires

Sat., March 20, 2010

Nine more illegal outside fires set by residents to burn yard waste and debris were reported in the two weeks ending March 17, and Spokane Valley Fire may take additional steps to make it clear that outdoor burning is not allowed for most residents, said Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford.

The department may begin reporting the addresses of violators to the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency. Repeat offenders could face fines. “At this point we don’t have any way of writing a citation, but if we turn it over to them, they can,” Clifford said.

Welding sparks touched off a blaze in a shop building behind a home in the 12700 block of East Alki on March 9. No one was in the shop at the time, but if someone had been they might have been able to stop the fire. It is a requirement under the fire code that there must be a 30 minute “fire watch” after any welding activity to make sure no sparks landed on something combustible, Clifford said.

In this case people had left the shop immediately after welding to get more supplies, he said. The building was being used for auto repairs. The fire caused $40,000 in damage to the shop and its contents.

•Liberty Lake Elementary was evacuated for about 30 minutes just before 9 a.m. on March 10 after smoke was reported in a classroom. Clifford said firefighters appreciated the fact that teachers had all the students in the appropriate evacuation zones. “It helped out greatly,” he said. “There was nobody in the way of the fire trucks.”

A motor failed inside a heating unit on top of the school and it sent smoke into the building, Clifford said. “Everything turned out OK on that one,” he said.

•There were 26 motor vehicle accidents that sent 13 people to the hospital. The most serious involved a car driven by Coeur d’Alene resident Jessica M. Derosie eastbound on Interstate 90 near Liberty Lake on March 8. Her car hit the cable barrier between the eastbound and westbound lanes and flipped. A Washington State Patrol press release said the accident was caused by excessive speed.

Derosie was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the car, the WSP said. When firefighters arrived she was unresponsive, Clifford said. “She had some pretty severe life threatening injuries,” he said.

Spokane Valley Fire responded to 317 EMS calls during the two weeks. There also were two natural gas leaks, 25 false fire alarms and one 1-year-old locked inside a car.

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