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Fire damages metal fab business

Sat., Jan. 14, 2012

The calls received by the Spokane Valley Fire Department from Jan. 5 through 11 ranged from the serious to the odd.

A two-alarm fire was reported at a metal fabrication business at 5217 E. Broadway Ave. at 6:46 p.m. on Monday. Firefighters found heavy smoke and flames shooting out the top of a roll-up garage door when they arrived. It took 35 firefighters to put out the flames.

The cause was determined to be sparks from a grinder that smoldered in combustible materials for a couple of hours after employees left for the day, according to a press release from Fire Marshal Kevin Miller. The damage to the building is estimated at $150,000.

The other fire calls received during the week were much more modest. Someone putting out a cigarette in a potted plant started a fire in the 2100 block of North Houk Road at 5:46 p.m. on Jan. 5. “This was a hanging plant on the balcony of an apartment,” said Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford. “When crews got there, the planter was on fire.”

Cigarettes in potting soil are a frequent cause of fires, he said.

“I can see why people do this,” Clifford said. “They think it’s dirt, but it’s not dirt. It’s combustible fibers.”

A resident in the 4500 block of East Eighth Avenue reported hearing an explosion at 4:07 p.m. on Jan. 5. “They found some kids being talked to by law enforcement,” Clifford said. The kids told police they found a firework alongside the road and lit it, he said.

A caller reported a house on fire in the 9000 block of East Grace Avenue at 9:43 a.m. on Wednesday. The smoke was coming from an improperly installed wood stove and there was no fire, said Clifford.

The 192 calls during the week included 156 EMS calls and 19 car accidents that sent nine people to the hospital for treatment. One of the more unusual calls of the week was a hazardous materials call at the Yoke’s on East Montgomery Avenue. “Somebody found some type of lock box that had a bio hazard sticker on it,” Clifford said. It appeared that someone had tried to force the box open and failed.

The box contained drug paraphernalia and several expired identifications, he said. The box was turned over to the Spokane Valley Police Department.

With winter weather in the forecast beginning Sunday, Clifford is urging residents to keep the area around fire hydrants cleared of snow so firefighters can easily access them in an emergency. Plow operators that plow in a hydrant can be fined, he said.

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