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Mechanic’s tools lost in blaze

Sat., Sept. 11, 2010, midnight

A local mechanic lost all his tools and equipment when a building he was renting burned down on Sept. 7. Spokane Valley firefighters got a call about a fire at the building at 1922 N. Barker Road at 8:26 p.m. and could not save it.

“It was already through the roof while firefighters arrived,” said assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford. “The shop was insured but the renter was not.”

A customer’s vehicle inside the shop was destroyed, as was an RV parked outside. “Another motor home received some heat damage from the flames,” Clifford said.

The likely cause of the fire is sparks from welding. Clifford said the mechanic left the building about 30 minutes after welding. Firefighters recommend a “fire watch” of 30 minutes to an hour after welding to make sure no sparks have landed in any flammable materials.

There were five brush fires reported during the week, including one in the Dishman Hills area apparently caused by a transient’s campfire. The fire was small, but difficult to put out. “It was kind of down in a ravine,” Clifford said.

A resident near the 3700 block of North Malvern Road reported seeing smoke on Monday evening. “Some kids were driving their go-cart in a field and their go-cart set the field on fire,” Clifford said. “The kids already had it extinguished before we got there.”

Firefighters were called to a home in the 15400 block of East 22nd Avenue when the homeowners noticed an odd smell. It turned out to be the home’s furnace kicking on for the first time of the season. Clifford said the fire department recommends that people have their furnaces inspected for any issues before winter begins.

There were 16 car accidents during the week, at least one of them resulting in a fatality. Firefighters responded to the area of Trent Avenue and Starr Road at 1:15 a.m. on Sept. 4. A car had gone off the road and possibly flipped. The driver was ejected and appeared to be unconscious when firefighters found him 50 feet from the vehicle, Clifford said. “He hit pretty hard,” he said.

He was transported to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center by helicopter. The Washington State Patrol handled the incident and reported in a press release that the man was not wearing a seat belt and that alcohol appeared to be involved. The man, identified as Coeur d’Alene resident Donald R. Crum, 48, later died at the hospital.

Firefighters responded to an accident at 4:08 p.m. in the 400 block of South Coleman Road on Sept. 6. “The driver apparently had a heart attack, drove through a fence, into a yard and hit a building,” Clifford said. CPR was performed, but Clifford said the department has not been notified about whether or not the man recovered.


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