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Small fire expensive with reach of flames

Sat., May 19, 2012

A group of kids set a fire in bushes at Pines Road and Grace Avenue just after 4:30 a.m. Wednesday that may end up costing more than $30,000 in damage.

“There were some kids that were seen in the area,” said Spokane Valley Fire Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford. While a brush fire seems minor, it didn’t turn out that way. “Arborvitae burn quite rapidly,” Clifford said. “The flames were shooting up in the air high enough to reach the power lines.”

The flames damaged the power line, a fiber optic line and the siding of a nearby home. Investigators have labeled it arson.

A grease fire was reported at the Top of India restaurant, 11114 E. Sprague Ave., at 11:22 p.m. Tuesday. “There were people in the business, but they left a pan of grease on the stove unattended, which caught fire,” Clifford said. The fire was quickly put out and caused only about $200 in damage, he said.

There also were a few illegal yard waste fires among the 227 calls the department responded to during the week ending Wednesday. A brush fire was reported at Dishman-Mica and Bowdish roads at 2:34 p.m. on Tuesday. Only some weeds burned, but the fire may have been set by kids seen in the area, Clifford said.

Crews were called out for a water rescue on the Spokane River between Barker and Flora roads at 3:44 p.m. Sunday when someone reported seeing an overturned canoe in the water. “Somebody thought it might have flipped and dumped somebody in the water,” Clifford said. Several crews searched the area and were unable to find anyone. Even the canoe was gone when they arrived, he said.

There were 22 car accidents during the week, including a car hitting a person in a wheelchair at 800 N. Evergreen Road the afternoon of May 11. Only minor injuries were reported, Clifford said.

Three people involved in an accident in the 11500 block of East Eighth Avenue on Monday morning suffered more serious injuries. A car ran a stop sign and was hit by an SUV, Clifford said. “We had to cut the car away to get a couple of people out,” he said.

There were several hazardous material calls that turned out to be minor, but one still has firefighters scratching their heads. Crews headed to 11100 E. Mission just after 6 p.m. on Sunday after a caller reported seeing fluids leaking from a “sleep train.”

“I have not a clue what a sleep train is,” Clifford said. “It’s just kind of a weird deal. I had to look at it more than twice.” As it turned out, the mystery fluid was water coming from a truck working with a street sweeper.

Firefighters also were called to help with what turned out to be a broken faucet in a tub in the 10300 block of East Ninth Avenue. “I still don’t understand how we got called to this one,” Clifford said.

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