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Squirrel’s misstep causes fire, power outage

Sat., Sept. 1, 2012

It was lights out for a squirrel as well as for several residents after an unfortunate incident near 32nd Avenue and University Road at 6 a.m. Tuesday.

The squirrel apparently was scampering across an electrical line when it stepped in the wrong spot, said Spokane Valley Fire Department Fire Marshal Kevin Miller. “He became the fuse,” Miller said.

The squirrel’s “smoldering remains” were found at the base of a burning power pole, Miller said. “It did pretty good damage to the pole.”

The department responded to a major apartment fire at 4:30 a.m. Aug. 25 at 2121 N. Houk Road. The fire started on an apartment balcony and spread up the side of the building into the attic, causing $50,000 in damage.

“Once again it was one of those smoking fires,” Miller said. “It was just a butt can that he had tons of cigarettes in. He had water in it before and it just dried out over time.”

If residents put out their cigarettes in a can it should be kept full of water and be a metal container, Miller said. The one involved in the Aug. 25 fire was plastic. “It melted right down,” he said.

There were also two brush fires during the week ending Wednesday. One was reported in the wooded, hilly area above Mirabeau Park at 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 23. The fire is considered suspicious, Miller said. “The guys had to hike in,” he said. “We’ve had lots of issues up on that hill.”

A hiker discovered an abandoned, smoldering campfire in the Dishman Hills at 10 a.m. on Aug. 24. “It didn’t get anywhere, but it had potential,” Miller said.

A Dumpster fire was reported behind a business at Sprague Avenue and Sullivan Road on Wednesday, the same area where there was a string of arson fires earlier this summer that resulted in the arrest of several juveniles. Miller said the fire is similar to the earlier fires. “If it starts up again we’ll be chasing down old suspects,” he said.

A caller reported a brush fire in the 17500 block of East Indiana Avenue at noon on Aug. 25, but it wasn’t brush that was burning.

“They were roasting a pig for a wedding,” Miller said. “They were almost done with it, so they were allowed to continue.”

People are advised to check with the fire department before doing things like pig roasts, Miller said.

Among the 230 calls during the week were 180 calls for EMS. There were 15 car accidents reported; five of them resulted in injuries.

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