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Cooking-related fire causes heavy damage

Spokane Valley Fire Department crews were kept busy from May 12-25 with several house fires and two calls for river rescues.

The two house fires on May 12 were both cooking-related. The first call came in at 7:52 a.m. in the 12000 block of East 25th Avenue. The homeowners reported that they put pastries in the toaster, then came back into the kitchen to find the toaster on fire. There was heavy damage to the kitchen and home estimated at $200,000, Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford said.

The second fire of the day was reported at 1:07 p.m. in the 7000 block of East Second Avenue. A woman had a pan of boiling water on the stove that she had added several tea bags to, Clifford said. “She fell asleep with the stove on,” he said. “She was lucky to make it out of her house safely.” The house sustained mostly smoke damage, but a repair estimate wasn’t available.

The next fire was reported at Wellesley Avenue and Moore Street on May 16. Investigators were not able to determine the cause of the fire, Clifford said, but it started near the couch. Two adults and one toddler escaped with minor injuries. “The 2-year-old sustained some burns on his fingers,” Clifford said.

One of the adults also suffered burns when he went back inside the burning house to try to douse the flames. “His hair ended up catching on fire,” Clifford said. “The best thing to do is get out, stay out and call 911.”

When firefighters arrived there were flames coming out of the front and back of the home. “The winds were blowing pretty good that morning,” Clifford said. “There were flames just bursting out that back slider door.” Damage to the home was estimated to be $200,000.

The last fire was called in at 7:06 p.m. on May 19 at 13505 E. Broadway Ave. A woman told firefighters that she had put a buckwheat pillow in the microwave and left it in too long. Firefighters found a singed pillow that was hot to the touch, Clifford said. The small fire caused very little damage.

The department’s new swift-water rescue team was called out twice this week, but it turned out that no one needed rescuing.

On May 22, three kayakers got in trouble on the Spokane River, but by the time firefighters arrived the three had been able to make it to shore on their own.

On May 23 the department got a call about an overturned kayak in the middle of the river near Harvard Road. As it turned out, the kayak’s owner was safe and sound on dry land. The swift-water rescue team retrieved the kayak so no one else would call 911.