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Storm, brush fires keep Valley crews hopping

Sat., Aug. 9, 2014, midnight

With dry conditions and a large storm that blew through the area last week, the Spokane Valley Fire Department has been busier than usual.

“It’s been a busy, busy week for us,” said Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford. He said there were 331 calls between July 31 and Aug. 6.

“I think that might be a record,” he said. Usually, during a seven-day period, the department receives an average of about 250 calls.

Of the 29 structure fire calls the department received, Clifford said 10 of them were a result of the storm on Aug. 2.

One of the calls that wasn’t related to the storm was also Aug. 2. Squatters had dragged a barbecue into a vacant home at 14323 E. Longfellow Ave. and tried to light it. The building had previously been burned by an arsonist and Clifford said he wasn’t sure if there was any new damage to the home. The main cause for concern, however, was carbon dioxide poisoning.

The case has been turned over to law enforcement.

“Barbecues are illegal to have inside of a structure,” Clifford said.

Cigarettes tossed from cars are a continuing problem for the department as well.

Clifford said this summer crews have responded to six to eight fires in the area of 6630 E. Sprague Ave., just off the freeway exit.

The city has laid down bark in the landscaping and drivers have been discarding their cigarette butts in the bark. Tossing a cigarette out of a car can result in a $1,025 fine.

Other calls from July 31-Aug. 6

Aug. 2: A home owner was doing some electrical work in the 13300 block of East 23rd Avenue, which started an attic fire. The estimated damages are $25,000.

Aug. 6: Clifford said a transient lit a fire in a makeshift fire ring of stones at 7700 E. Appleway, in the Dishman Hills area. The fire jumped outside the fire ring and caused a fire that was 60 by 30 feet. There was no one to be found when firefighters arrived at the scene.

By the numbers: There were three hazardous material calls: one was a fuel spill at a gas station, and Clifford estimated the amount of fuel to be about a gallon. The second was a malfunctioning HVAC system that created a strange odor and the third was a report of a strange odor, but nothing was found by responders.

There were 22 motor vehicle crashes and several people were treated and released at the scene. Six people were transported by ambulance to a hospital.

Fire crews responded to three service calls, all of them water issues. Two homes needed assistance in shutting off the water in the home because of leaks, the other was a water main break.

There were two vehicle fires. One of them was in a recreational vehicle that was in a repair shop because of an issue with the refrigerator.

Firefighters responded to 11 brush fires, three of them outside of the Spokane Valley Fire Department’s district and four of them were caused by the storm.

There were 12 building alarms this week and 248 medical response calls.

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