January 19, 2013 in Washington Voices

Valley fire that destroyed RV traced to propane heater

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A portable space heater started the fire that consumed this RV at 8820 E. Montgomery Ave., Wednesday night.
(Full-size photo)

Map of this story's location

Spokane Valley Fire Department crews responded to several significant blazes during the week of Jan. 10-16.

Four small dogs died and an RV was destroyed in a fire blamed on a propane space heater at 10:13 p.m. Wednesday in the 8800 block of East Montgomery Drive. A man had been staying in a RV parked in a driveway and was inside the house watching television with the homeowner when they heard a noise, said Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford.

They found the RV in flames. “He was trying to get the dogs out and was unable to,” Clifford said.

The man was treated for smoke inhalation. Clifford said the dogs may have knocked the space heater over or knocked something flammable into it. A propane heater also shouldn’t be used in an enclosed space because it emits carbon monoxide, which can be deadly, Clifford said.

Nothing much is left of the RV. “They burn so fast,” Clifford said. “It’s just lightweight construction.”

A fire burned what was thought to be a vacant house at 8815 E. Broadway Ave. at 7 a.m. on Tuesday. The previous renters had moved out several weeks earlier but a new tenant was in the process of moving in, Clifford said. The cause of the fire was traced to the oven, which the tenants had left on to try to heat the home and prevent the water pipes from freezing, Clifford said.

“We don’t know if there were any electrical issues and that’s why they weren’t using the baseboard heaters,” he said. “It was well involved when the guys got there.”

Jan. 12 was a busy day for crews:

• A burned truck was discovered just after 10:30 a.m. at 7221 E. Nora Ave. Someone apparently attempted to steal an old Ford pickup truck with a snowplow on the front overnight and it burst into flames. The engine compartment and cab were destroyed, Clifford said. “The fire actually burned out itself,” he said.

• Residents in the 23400 block of East Trent Avenue lost their front porch when they put hot fireplace ashes in a plastic wheelbarrow on the porch. The ashes ignited the wheelbarrow and then the porch, Clifford said. “It appears that it did not extend inside the structure,” he said.

• A clothes dryer fire caused minor damage at the Cedar’s Inn at 2327 N. Madsen Road.

• A house fire was reported at 8:46 p.m. in the 25600 block of East Wellesley Avenue. “They found out the people living there were having a big trash fire in their backyard,” Clifford said. Refuse fires are illegal. “We warned them and put their fire out for them.”

During the week crews responded to 193 EMS calls, 29 car accidents and three children accidentally locked inside vehicles. Perhaps the most unusual call of the week came in at 12:45 p.m. Tuesday. The police department called to request help rescuing an intoxicated man who had gotten up on the roof of the Qdoba at Pines Road and Mission Avenue and was unable to climb a ladder to get down, Clifford said.

Fire crews used their rescue basket to bring the man down, he said. “Why he was up on the roof I don’t know,” he said. “Who knows how long he had been up there.”

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