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Spokane Valley Fire crews answer slew of unusual calls

Sat., Aug. 4, 2012, midnight

The number of calls the Spokane Valley Fire Department responded to the week of July 26 to Wednesdaywas closer to average, but there were more abnormal calls in the bunch.

The department was contacted by a resident on Wednesday who said an electronic cigarette they bought a month ago had exploded, said assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford. Flaming sparks landed on furniture, but were quickly put out, he said. “They had several burn marks on their carpet and their couch,” he said. “Nobody was hurt or injured, but they could have been.”

A call came in on July 27 in the area of 11200 East Sixth Avenue reporting that guests at a wedding had released sky lanterns. The lanterns, made of paper or some other materials, include a small tea candle and are designed to float away. But they have to come down somewhere, Clifford said. “They just set them free,” he said. “If they land in an area where something catches fire, they will be held liable. We see them as a hazard. I know Washington state has talked about banning them.”

Crews responded to a few illegal fires, a recreational fire that had been abandoned and a Dumpster fire in the 400 block of South Dishman-Mica. The Dumpster was not intentionally set ablaze, Clifford said. “They had some oily rags inside of a Dumpster with a lot of sawdust,” he said.

A woman and her children were hit by a car pulling into the Winco parking lot just before noon on July 26. The three were walking on the sidewalk, Clifford said. “Obviously he wasn’t paying attention,” he said. All three were taken to the hospital but appeared to only have bruises and scrapes, he said. “None of it was life threatening,” he said.

A man did receive critical injuries in an accident at Argonne Road and Upriver Drive shortly before 10:30 a.m. July 26. He was the driver of a car that rear-ended a large moving truck, forcing the truck’s bumper into the car’s interior. The man had to be quickly extricated and was taken to the hospital. Clifford said he was told the man was upgraded to serious condition the next day.

Two men in the moving van received minor injuries. The road was closed for several hours while the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office investigated the accident.

Firefighters were called to help people stuck in elevators twice on Wednesday, which is very unusual, Clifford said. “We don’t usually see too many of those,” he said.

There may have been a chuckle or two when firefighters again responded to a hazardous materials call that turned out to be only water. It was a water truck that was leaking water, Clifford said. “The caller thought it might have been fuel,” he said.

Firefighters responded to 223 calls; 164 of those were for EMS.

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