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Spark from grinder leads to fire

The Spokane Valley Fire Department responded to one major fire the week of June 7-13 when a spark started a fire in a commercial building at 900 N. Fancher Road just after 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

Employees at ASC Machine Tools were using a grinder on a paint booth.

“They actually were installing a fire suppression system in the paint booth,” said Fire Marshal Kevin Miller. A spark started a small fire and employees believed they put it out, put it flared up again a few hours later when the booth was turned on, Miller said.

It took nine fire engines, including two from the city of Spokane, to put out the two-alarm fire. All the employees safely evacuated the building, but one man had to be treated for smoke inhalation. The damage is estimated at $100,000.

Firefighters were called to a home in the 7700 block of East Beverly Drive at 9:30 p.m. on June 8 after a resident smelled smoke but didn’t see a fire. The home was built with straw bales covered by stucco walls, Miller said. Firefighters used an infrared camera to find a hot wall, then discovered that a barbecue had been lit and pushed up against the outside wall, causing the straw inside the wall to catch fire, Miller said.

Crews opened up the wall and dragged out piles of smoldering straw, Miller said. The damage is estimated at $7,000.

The fire department doesn’t only respond to fires, it also responds to floods – at least when the flood comes after a fire sprinkler system is damaged. A couple celebrating their one-year anniversary in a room in the Pheasant Hill Inn on East Mission on June 13 got into an argument and the man broke off two sprinkler heads, said Miller. That set off an alarm that fire crews responded to.

Three floors of the hotel, which had just been renovated, were damaged in the ensuing flood. “When they forced open the door a 6-inch wall of water came out of there,” Miller said.

The Spokane Valley Police Department also responded and arrested Danial Peters, 38, and Danielle Wozniak, 27, on felony charges of first-degree malicious mischief. The damage is estimated to be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The department responded to three river rescues, one of them a search for a man seen going into the river in Riverfront Park. One call turned out to be a volleyball floating in the water. “They didn’t know what it was, I guess,” Miller said.

A dock was reported floating down the river with two people on it on Wednesday. “They were standing on it watching the water whip by them,” Miller said. The dock detached from its mooring and floated away. The people were rescued at Boulder Beach and a rescue team in a boat also captured the dock before it could damage the Upriver Dam, Miller said.

The number of calls during the week dropped from recent levels to 189; 153 of them were for EMS.