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Firefighters douse burning garbage truck load

Sat., Sept. 7, 2013

A huge pile of burning trash presented an unusual predicament to Spokane Valley Fire Department crews Tuesday morning.

A Waste Management truck was emptying the dumpster at the Red Robin near the Spokane Valley Mall when the driver noticed black smoke coming from the back of his truck, said Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford.

“They just dump it on the ground so the truck doesn’t burn up,” Clifford said. “When we got there, there was quite the pile of fully involved garbage.”

Firefighters wet the pile and used a backhoe to spread out the trash to make sure the fire was completely out. A Waste Management crew then cleaned up the mess and hauled it away, Clifford said.

Other calls during the week starting Aug. 29 included a cooking fire reported at the Argonne Terrace Apartments, 717 N. Argonne Road, on Aug. 31. The department will be trying to educate people on the prevention of cooking fires in October, Clifford said.

“At least once a week we have some sort of cooking fire,” he said. “This one was caught and just caused some smoke damage. People just need to stay in the kitchen while they’re cooking.”

Another small fire was reported in an apartment at 12423 E. Mansfield Ave. on Aug. 31. Investigators believe that some children may have lit some stuffed animals on fire and then threw them behind a dresser, Clifford said.

“The boys haven’t said if they’ve done it yet, so that’s still under investigation,” he said. “We’re hoping that’s going to be a teachable moment for them.”

Crews also responded to a dumpster fire, two illegal yard waste fires and a small fire caused by a cigarette discarded in a planter. There was a small grass fire reported on Wellesley Avenue in Otis Orchards on Sunday and a fire in the grass and brush behind an apartment complex in the 2400 block of North Pines Road on Aug. 31.

A contractor dug up a natural gas line in the 5900 block of North Vista Grande Drive on Monday.

Sixteen car accidents were reported during the week and there were 204 emergency medical services calls among the 248 calls received.

Crews also helped the Spokane Fire Department with a rescue in the Spokane River near a water feature called the Devil’s Toenail.

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