Homemade smoker causes fire

A homeowner in the 4300 block of North Martinson Road was smoking a whole pig in a homemade smoker Saturday at 10:39 p.m. when the inside of the device became too hot.

The heat rendered the fat, which dripped onto the flames and caught fire, according to Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford.

The flames burned down the shed the homeowner was cooking in and caused about $500 damage, “not counting the cost of the pig,” Clifford said.

It was one of 247 calls the Spokane Valley Fire Department responded to during the week of May 2 through Wednesday.

Of those, 19 were structure fires, one of which turned out to be barbecue smoke coming from a house.

Clifford said there were five yard waste fires, which are illegal.

At 6 a.m. Saturday in the 2300 block of North Eastern Road, there was an electrical fire started by several power strips plugged into each other. The fire was small and caused less than $500 in damage.

On May 2 in the 7800 block of East Alki, a woman was smoking too close to the tubing of her oxygen tank and started a fire in her mobile home. Her homecare worker was there and was able to call the fire department.

The patient was taken to the hospital for a severe burn to her leg and smoke inhalation and the homecare worker was taken to the hospital as a precaution for smoke inhalation.

At 1:25 p.m. Tuesday, a group of people were smoking on a back patio in the 14200 block of East Third Avenue. The group was discarding their cigarette butts into a plastic mop bucket and several potted plants. Both the bucket and the plants caught fire.

“We see this all the time,” Clifford said. The potting soil is not dirt and is flammable. The fire caused $700 in damage.

The department responded to two motor vehicle fires.

On Wednesday at 2:20 a.m., the department responded to its first brush fire of the year. Clifford said with the temperatures rising, if the wind picks up, there could be a burn ban issued, but that hasn’t happened yet.

In this case in the 4800 block of North Fruithill Road, the department believes the fire was caused by a person. There weren’t any suspicious fire reports in that area last year, but in 2011, the department responded to 12 to 14 fires in the same area. All of the fires were started under the same circumstances and Clifford is asking anyone with information to call the fire department.

There were 191 medical calls, three hazardous material calls and four service calls.

Of those four calls, three of them were calls for children locked inside vehicles and the other was a call for a child who was stuck in a tree house.

There were 19 motor vehicle crashes with several people treated for minor injuries at the scene. Five people were sent to the hospital for minor injuries.

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