December 1, 2012 in Washington Voices

Thanksgiving period no break for firefighters

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A carport fire that spread into the attic of a duplex at 8823 E. Broadway Ave., the morning of Nov. 19 caused about $90,000 in damage.
(Full-size photo)

Map of this story's location

The Spokane Valley Fire Department had a busy two weeks surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday, responding to 461 calls from Nov. 15-28. There were several serious fires that generated a large response from firefighters.

A carport caught on fire just before 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 19 at 8823 E. Broadway Ave. The flames had spread to the attic of the adjoining duplex by the time firefighters arrived. The unit next to the carport was vacant; the occupants of the other half of the duplex were safely evacuated.

The damage estimate is $90,000, said assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford, mainly because firefighters had to rip into the walls and ceiling to put the fire out. The department is looking for anyone with information on the fire, Clifford said.

“It appears to be human caused, whether it was accidental or not,” he said. “It’s all going to an area where ashes from a fireplace were put.”

The residents, however, told investigators that no new ashes had been placed there for several days, Clifford said.

A kitchen fire started in a second-floor apartment at 12707 E. Third Ave., at 10:48 p.m. on Nov. 21, the day before Thanksgiving. The tenant, who had been visiting neighbors, said another tenant was using the oven. The fire was discovered after smoke alarms sounded. It appears the person using the stove accidentally turned on a back burner instead of setting the oven temperature, Clifford said.

The fire spread to the kitchen cabinets and ceiling, causing about $40,000 in damage, Clifford said.

Two Greenacres businesses at 17929 E. Appleway Ave., the Handlebar Restaurant and Hell Yeah Cycles, were destroyed by fire just before 4 a.m. on Wednesday. A portion of the floor collapsed and there was fire on the first floor, basement and attic when firefighters arrived.

Firefighters were able to save several Harley-Davidson motorcycles and other items. The fire was caused by an electrical problem, Clifford said. “The fire had started in the basement in a wall,” he said.

Damage to the structure could easily top $75,000, he said. “I did the final inspection out there before they could open,” Clifford said. “The owner had put in substantial improvements.”

The department also responded to a kitchen fire caused by a recessed light that caught attic insulation on fire, a chimney fire, a bonfire and four illegal outside fires. Someone lit a fire in some bushes in a home’s side yard just before 2 a.m. on Nov. 24 in the area of Dishman-Mica Road and 38th Avenue.

There were 38 car crashes reported, including a head-on collision near Sprague Avenue and Adams Road just before 4 p.m. on Sunday. A woman had to be extricated from her car, which had significant front end damage, Clifford said. She was wearing a seat belt and didn’t appear to be seriously injured, he said. She reported feeling pain in areas where the seat belt restrained her.

Crews also responded to 376 EMS calls, a natural gas odor and a child locked inside a vehicle.

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