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Uptick in fire calls leads to busy week

A flurry of fire calls kept Spokane Valley Fire Department crews hopping the week of Aug. 2-8. The 254 calls received during the week were again above normal, bumped up by the increase in fire calls and 188 emergency medical calls.

The department sounded a second alarm for a fire at Precision Manufacturing at 711 N. Madson Road on Aug. 3. A fire was reported in an area where the company prepares metal parts and components for powder coating. Additional units were needed because 14 employees were exposed to potentially toxic smoke, said assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford.

“An employee was grinding metal in an area they weren’t supposed to be grinding in,” he said. “It did send two people to the hospital with respiratory issues.”

The fire caused about $1,000 in damage.

Later the same day crews responded to a brush fire in the 12400 block of East Mansfield Avenue. The fire was in trees and brush as well as a garage and construction trailer when crews arrived, said Clifford. “Crews knocked the fire down quickly to keep it from spreading to other structures,” he said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. The damage is estimated to be $10,000.

A brush fire was reported at Liberty Lake just after 2 p.m. on Aug. 4. It was in difficult terrain and spread to 14 acres before it was put out, Clifford said. The department called in an airplane and a helicopter from the Department of Natural Resources to drop water on the fire.

Other fire-related calls included a small deck fire at a mobile home in the 18400 block of Liberty Avenue and two boys playing with fire in the 1200 block of North Long Road. “We had a couple of kids playing with Axe body spray and a lighter,” Clifford said.

Kids playing with fireworks started a fire in the 16900 block of East 17th Court on Aug. 3. “Nobody saw the kids, they just heard the kids and saw the fireworks,” Clifford said. “A few minutes later they saw smoke.”

A Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy called firefighters after he found a mound of cigarette butts that had been set on fire at Indiana Avenue and Evergreen Road the evening of Aug. 3. “The deputy used his fire extinguisher to put it out,” he said.

The department received a call at 10:45 a.m. Sunday reporting that guests and employees of the Oxford Suites near the Spokane Valley Mall were reacting to something in the air. “We had quite the response going out there,” Clifford said. “People’s eyes were burning.”

Firefighters learned that a can of bear pepper spray in one of the hotel rooms had been discharged. The can was removed.

An unusual car accident was reported the afternoon of Aug. 2 in the 2800 block of North Cherry Lane. “The driver passed out and drove through a fence and into a small playground,” Clifford said. No one in the playground was hurt and the driver was taken to the hospital, he said.

An even more unusual accident was reported in a parking lot near the Valley YMCA on Aug. 4. A wedding was taking place nearby and the groom was riding in the back of a slow-moving pickup and fell when he tried to jump out, Clifford said. He had abrasions to his chest, back, arm and head, Clifford said. He refused treatment and said he would just go home and clean up.

“I hope the wedding went off without incident,” Clifford said. “I’m sure he’ll have things to talk about on anniversaries for years to come.”