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Battle with bee ends in spill, quills

A man was seriously injured in a tractor rollover in the 2400 block of North Sunrise Lane at 10:18 a.m. on July 1.

“He was swatting at a bee and ended up putting his right front tire over an embankment, which rolled the tractor,” Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford said.

The man’s injuries included broken bones. He also landed on a dead porcupine and had quills embedded in his skin, Clifford said. He was transported by Med Star.

That accident was one of 521 calls Spokane Valley Fire Department crews responded to during the two week period of June 27 to July 10.

There were 40 calls on July 4, including several fires known or suspected to have been caused by fireworks.

The department typically responds to between 25 and 30 calls a day, Clifford said.

A small fire started by fireworks burned some grass and weeds in the 200 block of South Liberty Lake Road just after 3:30 p.m. that day. An area about 50 feet by 75 feet burned in the 13000 block of East Mission Avenue at 9:40 p.m. and a firework was confirmed as the cause.

Another fire at Dishman-Mica Road and Schafer Road was reported at 7:34 p.m. and is thought to be caused by fireworks.

Crews responded to a fatal motorcycle collision in Liberty Lake at Mission Avenue and Signal Drive just after 1:30 a.m. that day. The crew determined that the rider was an “obvious fatality” when they arrived, Clifford said.

A logging truck rollover was reported on Trent Avenue just east of Starr Road at 2 p.m. The driver was heading east when he went off the road and into the ditch, Clifford said. “Bystanders were able to help him out of the vehicle,” he said. “It slowed traffic for quite a while.”

Firefighters also responded to a mountain biking accident in the Liberty Lake ORV Park just after 3 p.m. A man had a tire blow out and he tumbled over the handle bars and hit his head on the ground, Clifford said. “They had a hard time trying to locate him,” he said.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office helicopter, Air One, was able to help locate the victim. He was transported to the hospital by Med Star with a broken leg and other injuries, Clifford said.

Another fireworks-related call came the afternoon of July 5. Someone was setting off fireworks that had been placed on the railroad tracks at 404 N. Havana St., Clifford said. “One of the railroad ties caught on fire,” he said. “We found a bunch of fireworks laying on the ground right around it.”

A fire was reported in the south 100 block of Tschirley Road just before 5 a.m. on July 3. Someone had tried to destroy an ant hill by setting it on fire and a passer-by reported the flames, Clifford said. “It’s not the appropriate way or the legal way, but that’s the way they did it,” he said.

A vacant duplex was heavily damaged by a fire reported at 11:22 p.m. on July 1. Neighbors noticed the flames and called it in. They also told investigators that transients had been using the house. “There were two or three people seen leaving that duplex prior to the fire starting,” Clifford said. The investigation into the fire is ongoing.

Two small kitchen fires were reported and in both cases bystanders entered unlocked apartments to make sure the occupants made it out safely. A fire reported at 2:21 a.m. on June 30 at 2820 N. Cherry St. was started by cooking oil that had been left on the stove after one of the residents went to bed, Clifford said. “The lady that lived there sprained her ankle as she was fleeing the apartment,” he said.

The second kitchen fire was reported at 8:36 p.m. at 3711 S. Highway 27. The residents apparently left a pan full of boiling eggs on the stove, Clifford said. A 34-year-old man who went inside the apartment to check for residents was treated for smoke inhalation. “It doesn’t look like anyone was home at the time of the fire,” he said.

Crews treated a woman pulled from the Spokane River near Mirabeau Park shortly after 2 p.m. on July 7. The woman had been floating the river with her husband when they became separated and the woman slipped underwater. Some people helped bring her to shore, where she was treated by paramedics before being taken to the hospital in critical condition.

An unusual accident was reported at 3:26 p.m. on July 1. A Waste Management garbage truck rolled in the ditch at Lakeside and Idaho roads after its brakes failed while going down a hill, Clifford said. “To stop the truck he ended up driving it into a ditch, which rolled it onto its side,” he said. There was concern that the hot brakes would set dry grass and weeds on fire, but that didn’t happen, he said.

There were 395 emergency medical services calls received during the two week period, including 37 car accidents.

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