Apartment fire topped week’s calls

An apartment was heavily damaged at the Big Trout Lodge in Liberty Lake on June 14. Spokane Valley Fire crews spotted a column of smoke on their way to another unrelated call and diverted to fight the fire.
An apartment was heavily damaged at the Big Trout Lodge in Liberty Lake on June 14. Spokane Valley Fire crews spotted a column of smoke on their way to another unrelated call and diverted to fight the fire.

Spokane Valley Fire Department crews kept busy the week of June 14-20 with a major fire in an apartment complex, several smaller fires and a trench rescue.

An apartment in the Big Trout Lodge complex in Liberty Lake was heavily damaged in a fire on June 14. Fire crews on their way to another call at 5:30 a.m. spotted a column of smoke coming from the complex and diverted to the apartments while they called for additional help. The complex was evacuated while firefighters worked.

Spokane Shock football player Kevin Ellison was charged with arson after he told fire investigators he had set the fire in his bedroom because God told him to. He jumped out his third-floor window to escape the flames and was treated for smoke inhalation. Ellison was suspended by the Shock and as of Thursday was in jail without bail.

• A house in the 12900 block of East Desmet Avenue caught fire shortly after 3 p.m. on June 14 when combustible items were placed too close to a hot water heater.

“The fire was hot enough to melt the solder on the copper pipe,” said assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford. “It extinguished the fire. It could have been a lot worse than it was.”

• There were two fires reported Monday afternoon. The first was reported at North Pines Family Medicine at 12704 E. Nora Ave. at 3:30 p.m. An employee heard a loud pop and found a light fixture on fire. The flames spread to the attic and caused $10,000 in damage.

• A small fire in an apartment complex in the 3700 block of South Highway 27 was reported just before 5 p.m. A resident had left food on the stove and it caught on fire, Clifford said. The fire was put out by the building’s sprinkler system.

• An early morning smoker apparently caused a fire at 3:30 a.m. in the 13200 block of East Tenth Avenue on Wednesday. A cigarette wasn’t put out properly and caught some items stacked next to the garage on fire, Clifford said. A neighbor spotted the fire and called it in.

“They had gotten a garden hose and put out the fire,” he said.

Trench rescue

Valley fire crews teamed up with crews from the Spokane Fire Department for a trench rescue in the 500 block of North Flora Road at 7:30 p.m. Monday. A man was in a 6-foot trench doing work on a waterline when the sides partially collapsed, Clifford said.

“It collapsed enough that it twisted him,” Clifford said. “He was unable to move. He had some severe back issues.”

Crews had to shore up the sides of the trench before they could go in and rescue the man.


There were 229 calls during the week and 178 of them were for EMS. There were six illegal yard waste fires reported along with 11 car accidents.

A few unusual calls were in the mix to provide some light moments for fire crews. Someone called in to report an unusual odor at an apartment complex in the 13200 block of East Valleyway Avenue shortly after midnight on June 16. Crews could smell the heavy odor of marijuana near some bushes, Clifford said.

“Someone must have stepped out of their apartment and was smoking some dope outside,” he said.

The department responded to the 3400 block of South Bowdish Road just before 11 p.m. on June 16 on a report of four women locked outside their house who needed help getting back in. Crews found four women wrapped in towels on the front lawn when they arrived. Apparently they had locked themselves out of the house while enjoying a hot tub, Clifford said.

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