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Valley Fire crews rescue 6 in home with CO poisoning

A carbon monoxide detector saved the day this week when Spokane Valley Fire Department crews responded to help a person reportedly suffering from flulike symptoms.

Crews were called to the 5500 block of North Idaho Road just after 11:30 a.m. on Monday to help a 21-year-old woman.

Valley Fire crews carry carbon monoxide detectors attached to their first aid kits. When crews arrived at the house, it went off. Crews went outside to reset it and the alarm went off again when it was brought back in the house, said Assistant Fire Marshall Bill Clifford.

“They evacuated the house,” he said. “They called for more ambulances.”

Six people were taken to the hospital to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning, which causes headaches, nausea, vomiting and confusion. The effects are similar to intoxication or the flu, Clifford said.

Crews believe the source of the colorless, odorless gas could have been a wood stove, Clifford said. Carbon monoxide detectors are now required in all newly constructed homes and must be installed in existing homes when they are sold. Clifford advises that everyone install the detectors. “They do save lives,” he said.

Firefighters responded to 243 calls the week of Dec. 27 to Wednesday, including 193 EMS calls. A small fire was reported at Kaiser Aluminum on Monday. “Kaiser employees had the fire extinguished and called us to make sure everything was OK,” Clifford said.

Crews were called to the 12700 block of East 32nd Avenue at 2:36 a.m. on Dec. 29. The residents had apparently piled up a Christmas tree, mattress and other items and set it on fire, Clifford said. The fire was put out and the residents were advised that it was illegal to burn such items. “It sounds like it was a pretty good-sized bonfire,” he said.

A chimney fire was reported Tuesday in the 3400 block of Lockwood Road. An electrical problem caused a fire in the 4200 block of South Chapman Road on Wednesday. “It was extinguished by the copper piping in the home that separated at the solder joint and put out the fire,” Clifford said.

Crews responded to 25 vehicle accidents, including one that involved one of their own fire engines. An engine was getting on the freeway with lights and sirens on while responding to an accident call on Interstate 90 west of Evergreen Road at 4:40 p.m. on Dec. 29. A Ford pickup rammed into the engine from behind, Clifford said.

The crew had minor injuries. “They were experiencing neck and back issues but none of them went to the hospital,” Clifford said. The pickup truck driver was uninjured.

Other calls during the week included a person accidentally locked inside a post office on Trent Avenue, a water main break and a fire hydrant hit by a car.

The fire department responded to 12,049 calls in 2012, up from 11,242 calls in 2011. The majority of the responses – 9,467 – were EMS calls.

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