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Officials believe kids to blame for three fires

Summer for the Spokane Valley Fire Department means a jump in the number of fires caused by kids playing with matches, and there were plenty of examples the week of June 21-27.

Three fires reported during the week are being labeled arson fires and children are believed to have set all of them, said assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford. The department was called to an open field in the 11200 block of East 27th Avenue at 7:35 p.m. Sunday for a brush fire. “Some kids were seen leaving the area,” Clifford said. Crews put out the fire and found matches, cigarettes and a burned log.

The other two arson fires were set in trash bins behind businesses in the area of Sprague Avenue and Sullivan Road in the early morning hours Tuesday. There were five other brush fires reported and several are believed to have been caused by children with matches. One on Tuesday afternoon was started by a lightning strike and another was started by an illegal camp fire in the Camp Caro area Monday.

Crews responded to the Spokane River downstream of Plantes Ferry Park the afternoon of June 23 after a mother and her daughter swam partway across the river and decided they needed help. They held on to a large rock until they were rescued by firefighters in kayaks.

“I don’t think they were that far from shore but it was awful cold,” Clifford said.

The department was also called with a report of a 19-year-old man missing along the river between Barker Road and Harvard Road on June 21. “We actually found the person swimming in the water uninjured,” he said.

The department responded to a higher than usual 251 calls during the week. “Everything kind of jumped up a bit,” Clifford said. The call total included 198 EMS calls and 21 car accidents.

A crew also responded to the 17200 block of East Coach Drive on June 22 to help the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office remove a man from a trailer roof. “We gave them a ladder and they climbed up to the top,” he said. “I guess everything else worked out OK.”