Firefighters on false alarm need tow

Fires, stuck fire engines and downed power lines marked the week ending Jan. 5 for Spokane Valley fire crews.

In a case of déjà vu, a caller reported seeing flames at the Arbor Crest Winery at the top of Fruithill Road the evening of Dec. 29, the day a lot of snow fell. The historic winery building burned in December 2009 and is just now reopening.

When a fire engine attempted to go up Fruithill Road, it found its way blocked by stuck cars, said assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford. “We sent another engine around from the other direction,” he said.

That truck also ran into cars stuck on Lehman Road. “As they stopped, they started to slide backwards,” Clifford said. The engine was not damaged, but required the services of a tow truck to get out of the ditch.

But as luck would have it, it was a false alarm. The building was not on fire and no one is sure what the 911 caller saw. “It was kind of an interesting call,” he said.

After responding to a fire that wasn’t, crews were called to two actual fires on Dec. 31. Firefighters were called to 225 S. Adams Road at 3:37 a.m. that day for a mattress fire in an apartment. A resident had apparently fallen asleep while smoking and the bed caught on fire, said Clifford. A dog died in the fire but the residents were able to escape after the smoke detector went off.

Later that day at 5:14 p.m. a detached garage was reported as being fully aflame at 1923 N. Locust Road. The garage was a total loss and took 18 firefighters to put it out.

One other fire was reported on Dec. 31, but it wasn’t a house fire. Residents in the 13200 block of East Rich apparently decided to have a bonfire. “Somebody was burning illegal debris outside,” Clifford said. “It was quite the pile.”

The rest of the 264 calls were minor, with 185 of them dispatched as emergency medical calls. There were 37 car accidents reported, with 10 of them coming on the big snow day of Dec. 29. Despite the high number of accidents, only two people required transportation to the hospital.

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