June 11, 2011 in Washington Voices

Outlet caused fire at Whimsical Pig

By The Spokesman-Review

Spokane Valley Fire Department investigators have narrowed the cause of the two-alarm fire at the Whimsical Pig Apartments on East Mission Avenue to a faulty electrical outlet.

“It was a refrigerator out on the balcony,” said Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford. “The outlet had failed.”

The fire was reported at 6:45 p.m. on Monday. Witnesses said flames were shooting up the outside of the three-story building. Two apartments were heavily damaged and the residents of 10 other apartments had to be temporarily relocated. Damages are estimated at $100,000, Clifford said.

Faulty electric wiring was also the cause of a second fire, this one in an attached garage in the 1600 block of North Rio Grande Lane on Sunday. People in the house were able to evacuate safely. The fire was contained to the garage, where it caused $50,000 in damage, Clifford said.

During the week of June 2-8 the department also responded to three illegal yard waste fires. A caller reported that the bed of a pickup on 17th Avenue near Evergreen Road was smoking on Wednesday at 11:36 p.m. Firefighters didn’t see any smoke, but they did find two water bottles in the back of the truck that appeared to be melted, Clifford said. Police had received reports about people driving down the road throwing M-80 fireworks out of the truck’s windows, Clifford said.

Sparks from a downed electrical wire set some bushes on fire and someone also called to report children playing with a burning stick.

The department’s swift water rescue team was called out at 8:52 p.m. on Tuesday on a report of an empty kayak in the Spokane River downstream from the Sullivan Bridge. “We sent crews, thinking someone was overturned in the river and stuck somewhere,” Clifford said.

Clifford was driving along Upriver Drive to the command post when he noticed a group of kayakers and rafters near Plantes Ferry Park who were tying their boats to cars. He stopped to ask them if they had seen anything and one claimed ownership of the kayak.

“One of them got snagged in some tree branches and overturned,” Clifford said. The man was able to make his way to one of the rafts. “He crawled into that safely and they just continued their float.” The man was reportedly able to retrieve his kayak the next day.

A resident in the 4400 block of East First Avenue called at 4:09 a.m. on Sunday to report a spilled five-gallon bucket of what appeared to be used oil and several other buckets nearby. “It had been there over a week and they decided to call,” Clifford said. The mess was cleaned up and the buckets removed.

There were 216 total calls during the week and 164 of them were for emergency medical service. The 17 car accidents reported sent 10 people to the hospital, all with non-life-threatening injuries. A crew also responded to let people out of a self-storage business. “We see this at least two or three times a year,” he said. “The gates lock at a certain time. We were able to get them out.”

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email