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In brief: Firefighter falls from second story

A firefighter was injured after falling from the second story of a burning home in north Spokane on Tuesday evening.

The fire caused significant damage to a home at 5124 N. Lincoln St. after it was reported at about 7 p.m.

Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said the firefighter from Station 2 was reaching to stabilize his balance along the home and fell backward about 8 to 10 feet to the concrete. He was briefly knocked unconscious and was transported to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center with potentially serious injuries.

Schaeffer said the unidentified firefighter was listed in stable condition but isn’t expected to return to work for some time.

No residents of the home were injured during the fire. They were able to evacuate in time and were being assisted by the Red Cross. Firefighters also rescued a dog from the basement.

The cause of the fire was being investigated.

Four teens injured in head-on collision

Four teenagers were injured in a head-on crash Tuesday afternoon near Spangle.

The crash occurred on the 5000 block of East Bradshaw Road at about 5 p.m., and Spokane County sheriff’s deputies received reports that young people had been ejected from the vehicles.

There were two teens in each car and none was wearing a seat belt, deputies said. They were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Well malfunction closes three schools

Three East Valley schools were shut down Tuesday and residents of about 1,600 homes were asked not to drink their water after a well malfunctioned in Trentwood Irrigation District No. 3, pumping dirty water with sediment into the system, district officials said.

East Valley High School Principal Jeffrey Miller said the school was contacted around 6:45 a.m. by the water district. The affected schools were Trentwood Elementary and East Valley middle and high schools.

Devon Sinsley, the assistant manager at the irrigation district, said the well malfunction caused dirty water to pump back into the system. That well now is offline and district officials are testing water samples to determine whether the water is safe to drink.

Sinsley does not believe the water poses a health risk, but recommended that residents in the affected areas use bottled water or boiled tap water.

The affected areas were Plante’s Ferry Park east to Isenhart and from Bigelow Gulch Road to the Spokane River. Spokane Industrial Park and Kaiser Aluminum were not affected.

Private wells were not affected by the malfunction.

Hydrochloric acid spilled at LC

Students and staff at Lewis and Clark High School were sent home for the day after a jug of hydrochloric acid was spilled down a stairwell Tuesday afternoon.

A student science assistant was transporting the acid when the spill happened.

The school was evacuated just after noon as Spokane Fire Department hazardous material crews responded and cleaned up the mess.

Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said the spill was likely inadvertent and there was not a threat to students.

Buses were called to the school to take students home for the day while the building aired out.

Will addresses crowd ahead of debate

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist George Will is not a fan of presidential debates but says they are practically constitutional.

Will, speaking to Whitworth University’s President’s Leadership Forum on Tuesday at the Spokane Convention Center, said, “Presidential candidates are required to be 35 years of age and they have to debate.”

Will, well-known as a long suffering follower of the Chicago Cubs, peppered his 30-minute talk with political and historic references and baseball anecdotes. He also frequently chided government “for believing it knows more about the free market than individuals.”

The veteran political observer, whose syndicated column appears in 450 newspapers, focused on health care costs and the looming retirement of the baby-boomer generation, citing the huge financial resources required to meet the needs of a longer-living population. Medical advancements, for example, have resulted in the average 85-year-old having medical bills five times higher than those of a 55-year-old.

“Social Security was not intended for 20 years of retirement,” Will said, noting that when the program was initiated in 1935 the average life span was lower. “The retirement age must be raised,” he said.



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