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Power washing blows breaker inside home

Sat., May 22, 2010

A little spring cleaning caused problems for a homeowner this week after power washing his home caused an electrical short.

The man got water in his electrical panel and then called firefighters when he smelled an odor, said Spokane Valley Fire Department assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford. He was lucky that there was no fire. “It blew a breaker inside his house,” Clifford said. “It could have caused a spark inside the panel or it could have even sparked outside the panel.”

There were no structure fires the week of May 13-19, but there was a car engine fire on Interstate 90 on May 19. The only other burning involved a lawn mower in the 3300 block of North Molter in Liberty Lake on May 15. “We had a lawn mower on fire in the middle of the yard,” Clifford said. The riding lawn mower was “fully involved” when firefighters arrived. The cause is not known. “Most of the time it ends up being a fuel leak,” Clifford said.

The department also got several calls Saturday about a controlled burn on the mountain east of Liberty Lake.

There were 178 EMS calls for the week and 18 accidents sent eight people to the hospital. Four other people had only minor injuries and were treated at the scene. The department was called for one leaking oil furnace and a leaking propane tank.

The brief reprieve in incidents involving children locked inside vehicles ended with the department racking up three such calls last week.

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