July 27, 2013 in Washington Voices

Brush, home fires keep crews busy

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A mobile home at 2414 N. Bowdish Road was destroyed in a fire caused by faulty electrical wiring on July 23.
(Full-size photo)

A slew of fires and a chemical spill topped an extremely busy week of 279 calls for the Spokane Valley Fire Department from July 18-24.

Crews were called to storage tanks behind 4505 E. Sprague Ave. on Wednesday afternoon after an 18,000 gallon tank of magnesium chloride burst. The chemical is used as a road deicer in the winter.

The tank was owned by Roadwise, said Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford. The Environmental Protection Agency was called in and they recommended using a vacuum truck to suck up as much as the chemical as possible from the ground and the storm drains. “There’s no health hazard and no fire hazard,” Clifford said.

Numerous brush fires were reported, most of them small. Firefighters were called again to an area near 2820 N. Cherry Lane that burned the previous week. A log was on fire inside the blackened area. “It could have been a rekindle from last week’s fire,” Clifford said.

At least one brush fire was caused by an unattended camp fire and another was started by fireworks. The largest of the brush fires was reported behind Rose Pointe Assisted Living, 13013 E. Mission Ave., on Sunday. Firefighters discovered a slow-moving fire in grass and trees that appears to be human caused, Clifford said. The fire is under investigation.

A family lost their mobile home in a fire at 2414 N. Bowdish Road on Tuesday. Residents reported that the lights flickered before they saw flames near an electrical outlet, Clifford said. The fire was caused by old electrical wires that failed, Clifford said. One adult, three children and a dog were inside at the time and all made it out safely, he said.

The department also responded to a mobile home fire in the 8900 block of North Wilderness Road on Sunday evening even though it is outside the department boundaries. While the homes in the area are near the boundaries of Spokane County Fire District 9 and Newman Lake Fire and Rescue, they aren’t included in either of those districts , Clifford said.

“It’s bad business if we don’t go,” Clifford said. “Right now they’re not really guaranteed a response.”

There are no fire hydrants in the neighborhood and Valley Fire doesn’t have any water tenders, he said. The department’s engines hold 500 gallons of water. “Five hundred gallons of water goes pretty quick,” Clifford said. “We notified District 9 and Newman Lake Fire and they both brought up an engine and water tenders.”

The residents up there will be encouraged to annex into one of the districts that has water tenders, Clifford said.

A cigarette discarded in potting soil started the outside of an apartment building on fire at 12709 E. Third Ave. on Wednesday evening. The flames climbed up the side of the building and went into the attic, Clifford said. “It caused fairly extensive damage to that apartment, but I don’t believe it breached the fire wall into the other units.”

Another apartment building at 13203 E. Valleyway Ave. was slightly damaged on Tuesday when a barbecue too close to the building set the siding on fire.

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