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Brother’s actions lead 7-year-old to summon firefighters to home


A 7-year-old summoned firefighters to his home this week after reporting that his older brother was making an incendiary device in the backyard, said Spokane Valley Fire Department assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford.

The boy lives in the 11900 block of East 30th Avenue and walked to the nearby fire station for help Sunday afternoon. Firefighters followed the child home and found seven young children being watched by an 11-year-old boy. The 11-year-old had lit a piece of paper pushed into the neck of a beer bottle and told the younger children it was a Molotov cocktail, Clifford said. “He threw it down and broke it and that scared the kids and they all ran inside,” he said.

The boy’s mother and the police were called, Clifford said. Firefighters remained with the children until police arrived.

The incident was one of 243 calls the department responded to the week of April 25 to May 1. Another unusual call was received just before 1 a.m. on April 27 when someone reported a westbound train engine on fire near Trent Avenue and Sullivan Road, Clifford said. BNSF Railway was contacted and they reported that the burning engine had stopped near University Road. Firefighters found a small fire just behind the cab and put it out, Clifford said. The damaged engine was towed to the Havana railroad yard.

An electrical fire caused about $1,000 in damage to a vacant house in the 1200 block of South Reeves Road on Wednesday afternoon. An improperly extinguished cigarette started a small fire on a balcony at the Big Trout Lodge in Liberty Lake that same day.

A shed was discovered on fire in the 700 block of North Burns Road at 10:42 a.m. on Monday. The blaze was human-caused and a police report was made, Clifford said. A suspicious fire was reported in a garage at 1114 S. St. Charles Road just after 1 a.m. on April 25. An adult and several children made it out of the home safely.

“An incendiary device was placed up against combustible materials,” Clifford said. The damage is estimated at $50,000. The fire may be related to several other recent arson fires, he said.

Firefighters responded to 18 car accidents during the week. The most serious was a car that hit a tree near Mission and Felts at 6 a.m. Monday. The car engine was on fire and police officers tried to hold the flames back with fire extinguishers until firefighters arrived, Clifford said. After the flames were put out the driver had to be extricated from the car. One of the police officers was treated for smoke inhalation and the driver later died at a local hospital, Clifford said.

A stolen copper pipe created some problems at the former Old Country Buffet at Sprague and Pines on April 28. “Somebody cut the water pipe and stole it and left the water running,” he said.

Crews responded to 185 emergency medical services calls. Firefighters also rescued a 3-year-old who had accidentally locked himself inside a bathroom at the Liberty Lake McDonald’s.

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