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Spokane Valley Fire roundup: Burn ban still in effect; includes backyard camp fires

Despite weeks of hot and dry weather and frequent reminders that a burn ban is in place, people were still not getting the message.

“For anyone out there who thinks its okay to burn, its not,” Spokane Valley Fire Department spokeswoman Melanie Rose said last week.

The department frequently responds to people who are burning trash or having a backyard camp fire who say they don’t know about the burn ban. Most quickly put their fires out when they are informed of the restrictions. But one homeowner recently reacted to firefighters showing up at his door with aggression, hostility and obscenities, Rose said.

Crews responded to the 5000 block of North Harvard Road just before midnight on Sept. 2 for a reported backyard fire. The homeowner became very upset and closed the gate in front of the firefighters, Rose said. When a flyer with information about the burn ban was handed over, the homeowner crumpled it into a ball and threw it to the ground.

The Sheriff’s Office was called, but deputies were busy with another incident and could not respond, Rose said. The homeowner finally set up a sprinkler next to his fire and firefighters left the scene, she said.

Other calls from Aug. 21 to Sept. 3

Aug. 21: A motorcyclist at Skipworth and Sprague Avenue was hit and thrown to the ground by a rolling, empty car. He was not seriously injured.

Aug. 26: Two teenagers were seen quickly leaving the scene of 4900 E. First Ave. after someone spotted then lighting paper next to a dumpster on fire. A construction crew at Ponderosa Elementary, 10105 E. Cimmaron Drive, hit a natural gas line. Avista Utilities was called to make repairs.

Aug. 27: A maintenance person at the apartments at 2820 N. Cherry Road spotted a smoldering potted plant on a second floor balcony and used a garden hose to douse the fire. Someone had been using the pot to put out cigarettes. Potting soil is not dirt and is flammable. An overheated bathroom fan motor created a smell that prompted a call to the fire department. Residents in the 2400 block of East 24th Avenue reported that they didn’t have air conditioning and had been running the fan continuously. Two small grass fires were discovered next to the railroad track in the 19900 block of East Euclid Avenue.

Aug. 29: A house fire was reported at 10806 E. Fourth Ave. around 3:30 a.m. Two residents were able to escape with little more than singed hair but a dog died in the fire. There were no working smoke detectors. The fire started in the living room, but no cause could be determined. Damage is estimated at $62,500.

Aug. 31: A fire was reported near Arbor Crest. While driving up the hill on Fruit Hill Road, crews found two small grass fires and another, larger, grass fire at the top of the hill. The fires are considered suspicious and are believed to be related to other suspicious fires in the area. At least one person of interest has been identified.

Sept. 1: A pickup truck was reported on fire in the Wal-Mart parking lot at 15727 E. Broadway Ave. It was fully involved when crews arrived. Witnesses spotted a man lighting a fire in a pile of brush in the area of Girard Road and Appleway Boulevard around 10:15 p.m. They followed him home and reported his location to deputies.

By the numbers: Crews responded to 703 calls from Aug. 21 to Sept. 3, including 599 calls for emergency medical services. Other responses included 32 car crashes, two people stuck in an elevator and deputies who needed a ladder to search a roof for a robbery suspect.