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In-session school fires likely to result in charges

The Spokane Valley Fire Department recently responded to several house fires, apartment fires and two arsons at local schools that will likely lead to criminal charges.

The first school incident was reported April 22 at East Valley High School. “A student lit a garbage can on fire and sat there and watched it burn,” said Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford. The incident was captured on surveillance video.

The second school incident was reported at Centennial Middle School on April 28. A student used a can of body spray and a flame to burn a locker inside the school, Clifford said.

Both incidents happened while school was in session.

Perhaps the most unusual fire of the week was a roof fire on a warehouse that houses five businesses at 9711 E. Knox Ave. on April 25. The fire started near an electrical outlet and climbed up a PVC pipe to the roof, Clifford said. Crews on scene described it as a “slow moving wildland roof fire,” he said. “It was just cooking the tar away on the roof.”

A close contender for the most unusual fire was one caused by a candle in the bathroom of an apartment at 12210 E. Maxwell Ave. on April 26. The woman living there was taking off her nail polish and accidentally knocked over the bottle of polish remover, Clifford said, and she left the room to get something to wipe up the spill with.

“When she came back the bathroom counter was on fire,” Clifford said. “She closed the door, left the apartment and pulled the fire alarm.”

Other incidents from April 17-30

April 17: Crews responded to a high-speed crash involving a car and a tree in the 1700 block of South Bowdish at 11:54 p.m. The driver was trapped in the car for a time and was pronounced dead at the scene.

April 20: A fire in the 4900 block of North Haye Street was caused by a teenage boy who soldered a new battery into his e-cigarette. When he plugged it in to charge, it overheated and caught fire.

April 25: A cooking fire in an apartment at 223 S. Sullivan Road led to a two-alarm response at 10:58 a.m. A house fire was reported at 11:07 a.m. in the 11200 block of East 17th Avenue. Engines from Spokane County Fire District 8, Spokane Fire Department and Spokane County Fire District 9 responded to assist with the simultaneous fires. The cause of the house fire was an overheated electrical appliance being used in a terrarium. The lizard in the terrarium died.

April 28: A dumpster fire was reported outside apartments at 2112 N. Houk Road.

April 30: A cigarette caught a chair and cushion on fire in an apartment at 12426 E. Broadway Ave.

By the numbers: Firefighters responded to 468 calls for assistance, including 376 emergency medical services calls. There were also 25 accidents, a tree that fell on a vehicle, a water leak caused by copper water pipes being stolen, three illegal outdoor fires, two car fires and two children accidentally locked inside vehicles.