December 10, 2011 in Washington Voices

Teenagers accused of setting flag fires

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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Spokane Valley fire investigators have made two arrests after a series of flag burnings in the past several weeks. In most cases residents discovered blackened and charred flags that had been mounted on the outside of their homes.

The 16-year-old and 17-year-old boys arrested both attend University High School, said Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford. An anonymous tip called into the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office alerted investigators to their identity, said Clifford. They have each been charged with one count of second-degree arson and four counts of first-degree arson.

All Spokane Valley firefighters will be leaving their stations this afternoon for the funeral of firefighter George Sly, 62. He was a second-generation member of the department, which he served for 32 years. During the funeral the department’s calls will be handled by crews from Fire District 8, Fire District 9, Spokane Fire and Kootenai County Fire, said Clifford.

Crews responded to a total of 198 calls during the week of Dec. 1-7. There were no major structure fires, but there were four illegal outside fires, a trash-container fire and two small chimney fires. Firefighters also responded to a slash pile that was burning unattended in the area of 18900 E. Crestwood Lane on Dec. 4. The fire was illegal because it was in a no-burn zone, said Clifford. Permitted burns must have a person in attendance at all times.

There were 16 car accidents reported that sent six people to the hospital.

The department continues to receive calls about children left locked inside cars. There were three such calls this week, including one about a 5-year-old left inside a locked running car outside a store near Broadway and Sullivan.

It’s an ongoing issue that baffles Clifford. “I don’t understand why people would even do this,” he said.

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