The Spokane Valley Fire Department responded to a greater-than-normal 476 calls during the two weeks ending Wednesday. The number, which is usually about 200 a week, was driven up by a high number of yard waste fires and 378 emergency medical service calls.
There usually is a jump in yard waste fires every spring as the weather warms and people start working in their yards, said Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford. “Burning yard waste is illegal,” he said.
Firefighters responded to a couple of large structure fires during the two weeks. A fire was reported in the third story of an apartment building at 12420 E. Mansfield Ave. at 1 a.m. on April 13. Neighbors helped residents escape and firefighters found flames extending into the attic when they arrived.
The fire started on the deck of an apartment and is thought to have been started by improperly extinguished cigarettes, Clifford said. It caused an estimated $50,000 in damage to the attic and three apartments.
A duplex fire was reported at 417 S. Bowdish Road at 2:47 p.m. on Tuesday. The duplex was empty at the time and two dogs were saved, Clifford said. That fire was also caused by cigarettes on the deck, Clifford said. One side of the duplex sustained about $60,000 in damage.
A resident of the Appleway Park Estates trailer park at 205 S. Park Road was pulled from his burning home by firefighters after they responded at 4:33 p.m. on Sunday. The man had just arrived home from work and started cooking when he fell asleep on the couch, Clifford said. The food caught on fire and the flames spread.
“That person was quite lucky,” Clifford said. “It didn’t cause much fire damage, but a whole lot of smoke damage.”
A stolen 2006 Lotus sports car was either set on fire or caught fire in the 1500 block of South Park Road at 3:13 a.m. on April 8. The department’s arson dog, Mako, did hit on some gasoline at the front of the car, Clifford said. The fire is under investigation.
The damage is estimated at $40,000. “It was totaled,” Clifford said.
The department also responded to two brush fires, four water rescues, 28 car accidents, two water leaks and two children accidentally locked in cars. Firefighters also helped an 11-year-old boy who had put handcuffs on and was unable to get them off.
The call that generated the most chuckles came in as a hazardous materials call at 4:05 p.m. on April 11. A caller reported seeing an orange bucket in the road in the 1600 block of North Sullivan Road that was leaking some kind of liquid. Firefighters were quickly able to determine that it was a 5-gallon bucket full of dill pickles, Clifford said.
“The guys picked it up, brought it back to the station and threw it in the Dumpster,” Clifford said. “Who knows where it came from or how it landed there.”