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Boy accidentally sets backyard on fire

Crews with the Spokane Valley Fire Department didn’t have any large or serious fires to deal with the week of July 28 to Aug. 3, but the ones they did respond to tended to be a little interesting.

A young boy accidentally set his grandparents’ backyard on fire in the 1300 block of North Bowman Road on July 28 while playing with a magnifying glass. “He was playing with it out by the garden,” said Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford. “It didn’t burn any structures. Hopefully he won’t play with that again.”

Later that same day crews responded to a small grass fire in the 4500 block of North Fruithill Road. “The fire was intentionally set,” said Clifford. “It never made it into the timber.”

There have been 15 similar intentionally set fires in that general area in the last couple of years, Clifford said. The fires are under investigation and anyone with information on the recent fire or the other fires is asked to call the fire department at (509) 928-1700.

A car driving west on Interstate 90 from Idaho had mechanical problems and pulled off the freeway near the Stateline exit just after 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 2, where it quickly caught fire. “It wasn’t off the freeway very far,” Clifford said. “It ended up catching the brush and dry grass on fire.”

The car was fully aflame when firefighters arrived and the grass fire was spreading. It was quickly put out, but not before causing traffic problems. “The traffic was backed up for miles,” he said.

At 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 3 firefighters were called to 16th Avenue and Progress Road when a transformer blew up and set the surrounding grass on fire. It appears that a robin caused a short when it landed on the transformer, Clifford said. “We found the casualty at the base of the telephone pole where the fire started,” he said.

There were 192 EMS calls during the week, which bumped up the total number of calls to an above-average 259. There were 26 car accidents during the week that sent seven people to the hospital.

Other calls included a malfunctioning ceiling fan, a child with his leg stuck in a bench and a man who became locked in his bathroom when the door handle broke off. The man told firefighters that they could come in his unlocked back door. “They were able to free him,” Clifford said.

Someone called 911 the evening of July 28 to report that a yellow hot air balloon appeared to be going down near power lines near Trent and Harvard. When crews arrived they couldn’t find the balloon. It apparently landed safely on a nearby hill, Clifford said.

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