Thousands in fire damage, minor injuries reported

Two kittens were rescued from a duplex fire in the 2200 block of North Marguerite Road at 2:30 a.m. on March 20 and revived by Spokane Valley firefighters.

“We were able to use our pet oxygen masks,” said assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford.

More than two dozen firefighters fought the blaze for about 30 minutes. The fire started in a garage and spread to the adjacent garage and the attached living spaces, Clifford said. One family was not home and the woman in the south unit of the duplex was awakened by a smoke alarm and escaped unharmed.

The cause of the fire, which caused $400,000 in damage, is undetermined. “There was too much burned to rule out anything,” Clifford said.

A few days later, on March 23, a teenager in a basement bedroom in the 2700 block of North Bessie Road had a candle burning. He left the room, and when he returned his bed and the wall were on fire, Clifford said. The house sustained about $15,000 in smoke and fire damage. “It caused a lot of smoke,” Clifford said. “There is foam that is in (mattresses) and it puts out some nasty smoke.”

Another fire was reported at 9:30 a.m. on March 21 in the 700 block of South McKinnon Road. A garage caught fire after a makeshift smoker set the grass aflame. The homeowner had built a smoker out of an old freezer, Clifford said. “After you burn those for so long, fire is going to find a way out of it,” he said.

Embers apparently lit the grass and the flames spread to some bushes and the side of the garage.

There were a total of 207 calls for the week ending March 24, which is the highest one-week total since the beginning of the year. Of those, 166 were EMS calls and 10 were building alarms. There were 16 traffic accidents, also a higher-than-usual number, but only three people went to the hospital for minor injuries.

Firefighters were also dispatched to help the Sheriff’s Office remove a set of handcuffs, but details about the call were sparse, Clifford said. The notes from the call say that a pair of cuffs was successfully cut off.

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