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Storm causes several accidents

St. Patrick’s Day was busy for Spokane Valley Fire Department crews as they responded to a car fire on Interstate 90, a chimney fire, an electrical fire and a smokin’ party.

The residents of a home in the 10100 block of East 39th Avenue called the department at 7 p.m. to report that their house was filling with smoke. A lamp had shorted out, but didn’t cause much damage, said Fire Marshal Kevin Miller. A crew from Spokane County Fire District 8 also responded to the call.

A chimney fire was reported later that evening. The resident climbed his roof to turn a hose on the chimney, Miller said. “That can be kind of dangerous,” he said.

At 10:30 p.m. crews responded to a carbon monoxide detector sounding at 15600 E. Valleyway Ave. The residents were having a party and people were smoking a hookah, Miller said. “I guess there were quite a few folks around their hookah pipe,” he said.

Firefighters did detect elevated levels of carbon monoxide. “They opened up all the windows and it went away,” Miller said.

Crews responded to 219 calls the week of March 14-20, including 175 emergency medical services calls.

Several calls for help came in around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday when a big thunderstorm rolled through town. The department responded to a reported power pole on fire after it had been hit by lighting on Mayhew Road in Spokane County Fire District 9, Miller said.

“They were chasing other calls so we sent a truck up,” he said. “At that exact same time we had three different accidents on the Sprague curve on I-90. There was a lot of hail and people couldn’t see and they were slowing down.”

That slowdown started several multi-car chain reaction crashes, Miller said. “One guy got hit pretty hard,” he said. “It was kind of crazy there for about an hour on the freeway.”

On March 15 a sprinkler head in the freezer of Walgreen’s at Sprague Avenue and Sullivan Road malfunctioned and was spraying water everywhere, Miller said. Because the building was a former grocery store, firefighters had to go into the business next door in order to shut off the water. Firefighters helped clean up the water before it turned the freezer into a skating rink, Miller said.

Crews responded to 11 accidents during the week, including one on University Road just north of Broadway on Tuesday afternoon. An 80-year-old man apparently had a medical problem, Miller said. “He drove head-on into a FedEx truck,” he said. “It was pretty scary for the FedEx guy.”

The truck driver was uninjured and the 80-year-old man appeared to be OK, but was taken to the hospital to be evaluated, Miller said.

Someone hit and sheared off a fire hydrant at 39th Avenue and Vercler Road during the week. The driver left the scene, but a resident got the license plate number of the car, Miller said. “The water district is fixing that and billing the driver,” Miller said.