Firefighters respond to crash caused by failed axle

Two people were critically injured Wednesday when their car had a catastrophic equipment failure near Pines Road and Trent Avenue in Spokane Valley.

It looked like the rear axle of the car came off, said Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford of Spokane Valley Fire.

“The rear axle did not appear to be attached to the vehicle,” Clifford said. “I think the only thing that was holding it on was the driveline and a shock absorber.”

The car flipped when the axle failed and both occupants were ejected because they were not wearing seat belts, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The driver was identified as Deborah A. McKinney, 48, and the passenger was Timothy L. Stearns, 45.

Clifford said firefighters simply got the two ready for transport to the hospital as quickly as possible. “There’s not a whole lot that can be done out there on the scene for internal injuries,” he said.

Firefighters didn’t respond to many major fires the week of May 6-12. A furnace fire was reported at Quarry Tile at 6328 E. Utah Ave. on Wednesday. A furnace in a room used to dry tiles malfunctioned. No cause has been determined yet, Clifford said. “Really there wasn’t much structural damage, just smoke and water damage to the tile.”

Someone called firefighters on May 10 just after 8 p.m. in the 11200 block of East 27th to report that some children were trying to start a fire. Nothing was found. “Kids were in the area but denied any knowledge of what was going on,” Clifford said.

Also this week students reported a car fire at University High School. When firefighters arrived they found a 1987 Ford Ranger full of smoke. The fire started inside the cab of the vehicle and is still under investigation, Clifford said.

A small fire was also reported on a hill behind the apartments at Pines and Mansfield. The area is a hotspot for transient camp fires and frequent small fires set by children living in the apartment complex. Clifford doesn’t expect this summer to be any different.

“The fires will start up there,” Clifford said. “I know it.”

Of the 224 calls for the week, 182 were for EMS.

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