August 10, 2013 in Washington Voices

Fatal crashes among calls

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Spokane Valley Fire Department crews responded to two traffic fatalities the week of Aug. 1-7, both on Wednesday.

There was a minor accident around 8 a.m. near the Sprague Avenue onramp to westbound Interstate 90. “We didn’t respond to the car crash because it was just a minor fender-bender and they were exchanging information,” said assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford said.

But later, the driver of one of the cars, identified as 30-year-old Matthew J. Miller, was hit and killed by another car as he was walking across the road. At that point firefighters responded to what Clifford called a “gruesome” scene.

The second fatality was reported in the 8900 block of East Trent Avenue just after 5 p.m. A 21-year-old Spokane Valley resident identified as Brittany A. Babinski was killed when her car was hit head-on by a car traveling on the wrong side of the road.

Cooler, wetter weather led to a drop in brush fire calls during the week. Crews responded to 231 calls, which is down significantly from the previous week, and only one brush fire.

The single brush fire reported was actually in Spokane County Fire District 8 but Spokane Valley crews assisted. The fire, in the 5300 block of South Dishman-Mica Road, was started by kids playing with bottle rockets on Monday, Clifford said.

The rain did bring its own problem, however, in the form of three power pole fires. The fires often occur when it rains after a long stretch of hot, dry weather.

A small electrical fire was reported in the 17800 block of East Mission Avenue on Wednesday. “It was contained to an outlet where a washer was plugged in,” Clifford said. One resident was treated for smoke inhalation.

Another person was treated for smoke inhalation after a car fire in the parking lot of the Red Top Motel on East Trent Avenue at 3:16 a.m. on Aug. 3. “Smoke went inside one of the rooms where there was a person sleeping,” Clifford said. A 1997 Acura sustained $6,000 in damage.

A clothes iron that may have malfunctioned started a fire in the 1700 block of South University Road on Aug. 9. The iron was plugged in and either wasn’t switched off or the switch broke, Clifford said. “It was sitting on top of vinyl flooring right next to a plastic garbage can,” he said. The fire caused about $5,000 in damage.

During the week crews also responded to 187 emergency medical services calls and a leaking propane tank.

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