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Snow blows in rash of emergency calls

Sat., March 3, 2012

The Spokane Valley Fire Department had a busy week from Feb. 23 to Wednesday, particularly during the snowstorm on Feb. 25, but the calls were fairly minor. “Busy week, but nothing out of the ordinary,” said Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford.

Crews responded to 235 calls, 195 of which were EMS calls. “I think a few of those were due to slips and falls,” Clifford said.

The department also responded to a higher-than-normal 34 car accidents. The snowy day accounted for 12 of those accidents. “That’s usually what we have in a week,” Clifford said of the weather-related accidents.

The most serious call was for a fire in the 3300 block of North McKee Road at 5 a.m. on Monday. “It was caused by heat tape placed underneath a manufactured home,” Clifford said. Although the fire caused only $2,000 in damage, fires caused by malfunctioning heat tape are common and usually lead to more serious damage.

“Heat tape is OK to use, but it still needs to be maintained,” Clifford said. Homeowners should regularly check the tape for cracks or deterioration, he said.

The department also responded to a few illegal fires, several reports of downed power lines and a report of someone in a wheelchair stuck in the snow at Sullivan Road and Indiana Avenue Monday evening. There were also two vehicle fires reported.

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