Arrow-right Camera

Washington Voices

Fatal crash, two major fires occupy fire department

This home at 619 N. Vista Road was destroyed in a fire on Monday. The fire was caused by fireplace ashes that were improperly disposed of.
This home at 619 N. Vista Road was destroyed in a fire on Monday. The fire was caused by fireplace ashes that were improperly disposed of.

Spokane Valley Fire Department crews responded to a fatal motorcycle crash and two major house fires during the two weeks spanning Oct. 20-Wednesday.

The department was called at 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 21 when a police officer found the scene of a motorcycle crash on Bowdish Road near Valley Mission Park, said Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford. There was no way to tell how long the man had been there and he had no pulse when crews arrived. The identity of the man has not been released by police.

“We performed CPR and lifesaving measures on scene, but he was pronounced dead,” Clifford said. “It sounds like he was traveling at a high rate of speed when he hit the (utility) pole.”

The first house fire was called in at 4:12 a.m. on Oct. 28 at 7207 E. Sixth Ave. A neighbor heard popping noises and went outside to find the resident leaving his burning home, Clifford said. “He had tried to attempt extinguishing the fire himself,” Clifford said. He was sent to the hospital to be treated for minor burns and smoke inhalation.

Two dogs were rescued from the home, but a cat died in the fire, Clifford said. The home was destroyed. The resident did not have renter’s insurance and the homeowner did not have insurance, he said.

The cause of the fire was traced to electrical cords under the carpet. Over time as people walk on the cords they break down. When the interior wire breaks, it starts a fire, Clifford said.

The second fire occurred at 6:13 a.m. on Monday in a vacant home at 619 N. Vista Road, which was on the back of a large lot behind another home. “We responded there a couple of weeks ago,” Clifford said. “They were burning debris inside a couple of burn barrels.”

After being told the burn barrels were illegal the homeowners apparently began burning debris inside the home’s fireplace. The ashes were put in a tub outside, Clifford said. “They placed that in some dry vegetation, which caught fire,” he said. The fire spread to the carport and then to the home. The house was a total loss, Clifford said, and the owners did not have insurance.

Crews responded to the site of a roadside memorial at Trent Avenue and Pines Road twice on Oct. 20. People keep coming to the site to light candles, but leave them lit when they go, Clifford said. Clifford estimates that the department has responded to the site for the same reason, sometimes multiple times per day, about six or seven times in the last month.

The department also responded to two brush fires, a transient camp fire, several leaf fires and 38 car accidents. Fifteen people involved in accidents were transported to the hospital and several others were treated at the scene.

A possible bathroom fire was reported at the Pine Ridge Care Center at Mission Avenue and Union Road at 9:42 a.m. on Oct. 23. The caller reported seeing smoke coming out of vents, Clifford said. The smoke was traced to a portion of the HVAC system, which was shut down until it could be repaired, he said.

Crews also responded five times to let children out of locked cars, “some of them running, some of them not,” Clifford said.

Click here to comment on this story »