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Fire crews rescue man from trench

Trench rescue crews from the Spokane Valley and Spokane Fire Departments rescue a man from a partially collapsed trench. Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department got a routine call for a fall with injuries Monday at 7:20 p.m. in the 500 block of North Flora. But when they arrived they discovered a man at the bottom of a partially collapsed trench that had been dug for a water line hookup. Specially trained trench rescue teams from Spokane Valley Fire and Spokane Fire responded to shore up the trench so the man could be rescued. He was taken to the hospital for treatment.

Any trench or hole deeper than four feet has to be shored up with special equipment before firefighters can enter because of the danger that the sides could collapse. Recent rains have made the dirt less stable than usual, raising the risk.

Saturday’s highlights

North Pines Middle School eighth-grader Asha Abbas, 14, and seventh-grader Isabella Moua, 13, share a laugh Wednesday after an English language development class presentation in which students tell stories about themselves using Microsoft Phot Story. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland
It's another gloomy Monday morning, but we've got some Saturday Valley Voice highlights to start our day with. The Spokane Valley City Council spent eight hours in a retreat last week going over the preliminary 2013 budget numbers and discussing how they might fund street preservation. No decisions were made, so the issue will continue to be discussed at future meetings.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger visited a English language development class at North Pines Middle School attended by young immigrants from all over the world. The students were presenting photo stories and some talked about where they came from.

Some Millwood residents upset about a recent 14 percent water rate increase visited the Millwood City Council meeting to complain about the rate hike. Correspondent Valerie Putnam reported their concerns about paying too much for water this year.

Spokane Valley pools are open now and we have details about open swim times and swim lessons. The Spokane Valley Fire Department renamed several fire stations last week and the names of one or two might surprise you.

Shock player arrested for arson, suspended from team

Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Third update: Shock player Kevin Ellison has been arrested on an arson charge for allegedly starting the fire that began in his bedroom. He has been suspended from the team. Check the updated story here.

Second update: Representatives of the Spokane Shock arena football team have confirmed that player Kevin Ellison is the resident who jumped from the burning building. The story is here.

Update: Fire investigators have determined that this was an arson fire, said Fire Marshal Kevin Miller. Investigators have not yet been able to interview the resident, who is still in the hospital. The fire began in the bedroom.


A man jumped from his burning third story apartment at Big Trout Lodge in Liberty Lake early this morning and managed to escape serious injury. He was taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhilation.

Spokane Valley Fire Department's Engine 3 was on its way to another call at 5:30 a.m. today when firefighters spotted a column of smoke coming from the apartment building, according to a press release from Capt. Pat Schaffer. They called it in and diverted to the building, where they saw flames coming from the third floor unit. Liberty Lake Police officers helped evacuate the building.

Firefighters were able to stop the fire from spreading from the apartment where it began. Two other apartments had some smoke damage. The damage is estimated at $50,000 and the cause is still under investigation.

Two alarm fire damages Spokane Valley business

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Spokane Valley Fire Department crews respond to a two alarm fire at 900 N. Fancher Road on June 12, 2012. Photos courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department responded to a two alarm fire at ASC Machine Tools in the 900 block of North Fancher yesterday just after 5 p.m. Workers at a neighboring business called 911 when they saw smoke coming from the building, said Fire Marshal Kevin Miller in a press release. Employees told firefighters that there had been 20 people in the building, but they had all made it out.

It took 30 minutes and nine fire trucks (including two from the Spokane Fire Department) to put out the flames and Fancher was shut down between Broadway and Desmet for some time. One employee was taken to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. The fire started in a paint booth, but the cause is still under investigation, Miller said. It's not known when the building can be used again.

Today’s highlights

Third-graders Audrina Gainey, left, and Stephanie Sawchuk, right, wear ball gowns and munch on a lunch served by parents and teachers May 24, at Sunrise Elementary. The event, called the Fairy Tale Ball, was a time to dress up and practice proper dining etiquette. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

There's a lot to check out in today's Valley Voice, so grab a cup of coffee and settle in. I almost wish I was at Sunrise Elementary when reporter Lisa Leinberger was there last week to check out the third grade Fairy Tale Ball because it sounds like so much fun. The students dressed up in their finest clothes and snacked on food made by their parents.

If you are looking for things to do this weekend, you have a couple of options. The grand opening of Greenacres Park is Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The park has a playgroung area with splash pad and sand box, restrooms, a large picnic shelter and play fields. Saturday is also West Valley Days in Millwood, which includes a parade, carnival and free bike raffle.

The Spokane Valley City Council discussed their second thoughts about accepting the donation of a sculpture in a new entry to be built at Appleway and Thierman next year. Several council members suggested putting the work of art in Balfour Park instead so people can get up close to it.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department will have a replacement levy on the ballot in August. It currently provides 53 percent of their annual budget and there was discussion this week on what would happen if the levy fails. Six of the department's ten stations would close and staff would be cut from 180 to 76.

All about fire

The Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency and the Spokane Valley Fire Department are teaming up to offer a free “Burn Dry Firewood” event Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Valley Fire Station 1, 10319 E. Sprague. There will be demonstrations on building a better fire, firewood splitting and building a wood shed. There will be activities for kids and free hot dogs (while supplies last). Kids (and kids at heart) will also be able to check out a fire truck up close. Reporter Mike Prager has more details here.  

Saturday’s highlights

Valley Mission Professional Building owner Ron Ogle talks Wednesday about reopening the Spokane Valley building. The structure has been rebuilt after being damaged by an explosion there last fall. SR photo/Kathy Plonka

Here were are on another rainy Monday morning with some good Valley Voice stories to catch up on over our morning coffee. Tenants have begun moving back into the Valley Mission Professional Building near the Valley Hospital. The building is being rebuilt after a fire and explosion last fall and the last tenant is expected to be back by July 1.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to Katy Allen, the new Liberty Lake city administrator. She's been a resident of Liberty Lake for years but has commuted as far away as San Jose, Calif., for work. Lisa also has a report on new hires in the Central Valley School District.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department has been analyzing response times on the west end of Spokane Valley after the closure of Station 6 for construction. The times are up, but the department was expecting that even with the assistance of the Spokane Fire Department in some areas.

Today’s highlights

Lexi Saeger is working her way toward a national competition by selling shopping bags, right, that she makes from empty pet food bags. She also made a skirt and camisole out of the bags, left, for the Future Career and Community Leaders of America competition. SR photo/Dan Pelle

The rain is back, but since it is Thursday there's a Valley Voice to take a look at over coffee since you can't look out the window and see sunshine. Reporter Lisa Leinberger attended an East Valley school board meeting this week where there was a public hearing on the district's plan to take on $6.2 million in nonvoted debt to pay for new portable classrooms at the elementary schools. The portables are needed to allow the schools to include students in grades K-8. The topic did generate some discussion.

Correspondent Cindy Hval interviewed Lexi Saeger, a student at Freeman High School, who makes clothing and shopping bags out of old pet food bags. She's been selling her shopping bags and they are available at a local store.

The Spokane Valley City Council voted Tuesday to name nine people to its new ad hoc economic development committee. The council also voted to pass a new sign code ordinance. This week the Spokane Valley Fire Department commissioners gave a resident an outstanding citizen award for his role in saving a woman from her burning apartment. The commissioners also voted to put a replacement maintenance and operations levy on the Aug. 7 ballot.

Today’s highlights

Joseph Yacker opens the front door of the new Spokane Valley Fire administration building Monday, to show the prominent display of a beam from the World Trade Center in the entryway. Yacker works with information systems in the building. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Today's Valley Voice is pretty packed with news, so you might need two cups of coffee to get through it all. The Spokane Valley Fire Department opened a new administration building for business this week. The new building, located next to Station 8, is designed to be an essential services building in a disaster. This is the same building where a piece of beam from the World Trade Center was installed during construction.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to Mary Collins of Spokane Valley High School, who was recently named the 2012 Washington State Classified School Employee of the Year. The Spokane Valley City Council had a long discussion Tuesday on the merits of the regional animal shelter plan proposed by Spokane County and how much it would cost the city.

The Spokane Valley Planning Commission met last week for a public hearing on the draft goals and policies of the Shoreline Master Program update. The plan, which regulates development on shorelines, is undergoing a state mandated update. There was a bit of controversy during the meeting regarding the recusal of commissioner Marcia Sands. Sands works for the Department of Ecology, which approves all shoreline plans. Four commissioners voted not to excuse Sands, who now says she is debating whether to step down from her seat on the commission.

Saturday’s highlights

PE teacher PJ Jarvis, center, explains where black-eyed peas fall in the food groups during a nutrition lesson at Opportunity Elementary School. Jarvis was selected as the elementary school teacher of the year by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

There were a bunch of good stories in Saturday's Valley Voice, so let's take this sunny Monday morning to look at a few highlights. Reporter Lisa Leinberger had a story on Opportunity Elementary physical education teacher PJ Jarvis, who has been named elementary school teacher of the year by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education.

Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey made his first State of the City speech last week. The work done by the city's first council and the policies the city set have allowed Spokane Valley to weather the recent economic downturn fairly well, Towey said.

Spokane Valley is owed over half a million dollars in unpaid gambling taxes, but apparently there is not much hope that the back taxes will ever be collected. A Spokane Valley firefighter was injured recently by a knife while trying to put out a mobile home fire, but his injury was not serious.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam stopped in at the Millwood City Council meeting, where Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich reported that Millwood's crime rate is down. The council also discussed its shoreline management plan.

Attic fire damages apartments

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Spokane Valley Fire Department crews responded to an attic fire yesterday afternoon at the Village Apartments, 9717 E. Sixth. A Spokane Valley police officer spotted the fire and warned residents, according to a fire department press release.

The fire started on a balcony on the top floor and spread up the side of the building and into the attic, the press release said. Damage was largely confined to the attic and outside of the building, but some top floor apartments were damaged by smoke. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The Red Cross is assisting the residents of the top floor apartments. Photos are courtesy of the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Shed fire at Park and Broadway

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A building described as a barn or a shed burned to the ground this morning at the corner of Park Road and Broadway Avenue. Smoke and flames were visible when firefighters from the Spokane Valley Fire Department arrived. The shed was next to a vacant home. The fire appears to be suspicious and is under investigation, according to a fire department press release. Anyone with information about the fire should call the department at 928-1700 or Crime Check at 456-2233. Photos courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Garage destroyed by fire this morning

Firefighters from the Spokane Valley Fire Department responded to a reported garage fire in the 6500 block of East Seventh just after 4 a.m. today. The garage was heavily damaged, but firefighters were able to keep the flames from spreading to a nearby mobile home. No one was injured and the homeowner had insurance, according to a Valley Fire press release. There's no word yet on the cause of the fire. Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Saturday’s highlights

Nancy Ledeboer holds a book in the Argonne Library branch Wednesday. Ledeboer is the new administrator of the Spokane County Library District. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Good Monday morning everyone. (Well, it will be after I have a second cup of coffee.) It's time to take a look at Saturday's Valley Voice in case you missed any of our great stories. Reporter Pia Hallenberg interviewed West Valley High School student Joey Bird, who started racing go-karts at the age of eight. He has won six championships and several awards and is moving up to bigger and more powerful race cars.

The Spokane County Library District welcomed a new director this month, Nancy Ledeboer. She said she is pleased at how well maintained the libraries are, the good condition of the district's books and the willingness of staff to take change in stride.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on a generous $10,000 donation from the Intersection Church to North Pines Middle School. The gift was unexpected and the school is still considering how to put the donation to good use.

Residents on the west end of Spokane Valley will notice that engines from the Spokane Fire Department are responding to 911 calls for help in addition to crews from the Spokane Valley Fire Department. Valley Fire's Station 6 is being torn down and replaced and the crew has moved to Station 1 near University City. The Spokane Fire Department will be responding in certain areas to make sure all emergency calls get a timely response.

Today’s highlights

Joel Elgee, left, and paramedic Nick Muzik look at baby Leona, who was delivered with Muzik’s help in Liberty Lake Jan. 25. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

There are some good stories in today's Valley Voice to go with your morning coffee. The feel good story of the day is about the successful birth of a healthy baby girl who was helped into the world by a Spokane Valley Fire Department crew and an AMR abulance crew. This baby wasn't waiting around and firefighters delivered the baby in only a few minutes. The family recently stopped by Station 3 in Liberty Lake to express their gratitude.

Spokane Valley's Public Works Director Neil Kersten takes a trip to Honduras every year to help build schools. He's on the board of directors of the non-profit that does the work, Schools for the Children of the World. The Spokane Valley City Council voted Tuesday to exempt Spokane Valley businesses from a new state law that limited alcohol signs in windows. Two council members voted against the exemption after several citizens testified against it.

The city planning commission met recently and gave their vote of approval to rezoning property west of Conklin and a little south of Broadway to high density residential. Scores of neighbors testified against allowing apartment buildings on land surrounded by single family homes. The planning commission did recommend that the city negotiate a development agreement with the property owner that would provide larger setbacks and restrictions on height and density on some areas of the property. It will be up to the city council to make the final decision.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger spoke to a Spokesman-Review carrier who spotted and put out an early morning fire at the Brass Rail Tavern in Rosalia recently. The property owners are grateful for his help and have promised him a steak dinner.

Saturday’s highlights

After seven years as superintendent of the West Valley School District, Polly Crowley is stepping down. She visits with Orchard Center Elementary School Principal Travis Peterson on Tuesday in Spokane Valley. SR photo/Dan Pelle

There was a good mix of stories in Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger topped off the front page with a nice profile on West Valley Superintendent Polly Crowley, who has announced her retirement at the end of the school year.

The issue that is likely to generate some debate was a discussion by the Spokane Valley City Council last week on whether they should ban curbside fundraisers such as Fill the Boot. The city currently gives out permits to local charities to do this once a year, but many groups apparently aren't following the rules and there are safety concerns.

The 2011 numbers are in for the Spokane Valley Fire Department and show an increase in arson fires and a decrease in accidental fires. The number of arson arrests are up as well and the department is proud of it's high solve rate for the criminal fires. Correspondent Valerie Putnam attended the recent Millwood City Council meeting, where they voted to change the regular meeting date and spent a lot of time discussing water rates.

Valley Fire hosts another open house

I'm continuing today's Spokane Valley Fire Department theme on my blog with the annoucement that Valley Fire Station 7 (1121 S. Evergreen) will have an open house tomorrow. The department is working to rename all their fire stations and are hosting open houses at each one to ask the public to suggest possible names. The open house will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. People can meet the on-duty crew, tour the station, have refreshments and meet Mako the arson dog. The weather is supposed to be nice, so grab the kids and head over there.

Garage fire this week

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The Spokane Valley Fire Department has provided a few pictures of a detached garage fire reported just before 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 5100 block of North Evergreen. (The pictures are a little dark, but hopefully you can make out details). The fire started when flammable objects placed too close to the wood stove caught fire. There were a couple of older cars and tools in the garage. The damage is estimated at $25,000.

Spokane Valley home damaged in attic fire

This home in the 15100 block of East Sixth in Spokane Valley was damaged by an attic fire on March 5, 2012. Firefighters had to rip open the wall and roof to put out the fire. Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

A teenage boy noticed smoke in his home in the 15100 block of East Sixth in Spokane Valley Monday and called the Spokane Valley Fire Department just before 1 p.m. A fire was located in the attic and it took firefighters 20 minutes to rip holes in the roof and the walls to put out the flames, according to a fire department press release. It appears that the fire started near the fireplace and damages could top $15,000. The teen was able to get out of the house safety and there were no injuries.

Today’s highlights

Nick Kane and Bayley Brooks dance at the Coeur d’Alene Eagles Lodge Ballroom early last month. Dance partners only since June, the pair have proved to be a quick study. SR photo/Kathy Plonka

We've got another batch of good stuff for you in today's Valley Voice. Perhaps the most touching story is by correspondent Cindy Hval, who attended a wedding recently at the Orchard Crest Retirement Community in Spokane Valley. Kent Collings, 95, and Lorraine Lanterman, 77, met at the bridge table at the retirement facility and dated for four years before tying the knot.

Rainey Coffin talked to young ballroom dancers Bayley Brooks, 14, and Nicholas Kane, 16. The two are getting ready for the 2012 USA Dance Nationals in Baltimore. The Spokane Valley City Council tackled several different subjects at this week's meeting, including alcohol advertising and lodging tax fund distribution.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department found an additional $312,000 in reserves and a contingency fund to pay for the higher than expected bid to tear down and rebuild Station 6 on the west end of town. The Liberty Lake Police Department has had some success in identifying more vehicle prowl victims and suspects after a recent surge in thefts.  

Firefighters deliver impatient baby

A baby girl was apparently in a hurry to be born on Saturday. Firefighters at Spokane Valley Fire Department Station 3 were called to a Liberty Lake home after someone called 911 to report a woman in labor. The call came in at 7:48 a.m. Saturday; the firefighters and an AMR ambulance crew delivered a healthy baby girl at 8:04 a.m. Mom and baby were both taken to the hospital to be checked. We just love happy endings.

The Station 3 crew that day was Capt. Gary Collins, Paramedic Nick Muzik and EMT Paul Turcotte.

Saturday’s highlights

At the Spokane County regional fire dispatch center, dispatcher Mike Cappellano monitors a call of a tree that fell onto a house Wednesday. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

Well, judging by our wild weather this weekend, I guess it is still winter. Today's chilly temperatures may not stop teenagers from wearing shorts, but it makes a perfect day for the rest of us to sit inside with our coffee and get caught up on Saturday's Valley Voice.

The Spokane Fire Department runs a fire dispatch center that serves all of Spokane County and last year they purchased some new software that allows calls to be sent to firefighters sooner. Response times have improved as dispatch times have improved.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger spent some time with Freeman Elementary School students portraying each of the nation's 44 presidents in a fun “wax museum” event. Lisa also has a story on the retirement announcement made by West Valley Superintendent Polly Crowley. She will leave the district at the end of the school year after seven years as superintendent.

Correspondent SteveChristilaw checked in with the University High School boys basketball team last week before their regional game with Kennewick as they looked back on their season.

Today’s highlights

Rina Clark, right, a West Valley Outdoor Learning Center raptor volunteer, introduces Ava McLeod to Willie the barn owl, Friday. SR photo/Dan Pelle

We start today look's at the Valley Voice with two great stories by reporter Lisa Leinberger. She visited with an autistic volunteer, Ava McLeod, who works with the birds at the West Valley Outdoor Learning Center. McLeod knows several bird calls now and has handled some of the birds.

Lisa's second story on the Central Valley School District will impact the entire Spokane Valley area. The Central Valley board has agreed to purchase the morner Rite Aid building at Sprague and University to expnd the Skills Center program. The West Valley Contract Based Education currently fills half the building and will remain there. The Skills Center classes offered there would also be open to students in the West Valley, East Valley and Freeman school districts.

The Spokane Valley City Council had another discussion on the gateway sign proposed at Appleway and Thierman as they fine tuned the plan for the site. The Spokane Valley Fire Department is mulling over their options after construction bids for a new Station 6 came in over the estimated cost of $1.3 million. The lowest bid was $1.5 million and others went as high as $1.8 million.

Another Valley Fire open house

Spokane Valley Fire Department firefighter Joe Rees, paramedic/engineer Dave Fegele and Capt. Chris Neumann put out a kitchen fire caused by a faulty dishwasher inside Station 6 in 2010. The photo is courtesy of the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Tomorrow it is the turn of Spokane Valley Fire Department Station 6 to host an open house. The department is working to rename all its stations and has been having open houses at each station to allow people to take tours and offer name suggestions. The open house is from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. The station is located at 6306 E. Sprague. In addition to tours there will be refreshments and a visit from Mako the arson dog.

The fire department commissioners will pick a name from the suggestions at a later date. On an additional note, Station 6 is slated for demolition this spring and a new, larger station will be built on the site. The current station was built in 1961.

No chickens injured in fire

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Spokane Valley Fire Department crews were called to burning shed/chicken coop a little after 9 a.m. this morning at 5309 E. Eighth. “First arriving crews had the fire extinguished quickly and there were no injuries or animal causalities,” said Assistant Fire Marshall Bill Clifford. That's good news for our feathered friends. Investigators believe the fire was started by a heat lamp, Clifford said. Photos courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Valley Fire open house Saturday

The Spokane Valley Fire Department will have an open house Saturday at Station 3 at 2218 N. Harvard Road. The department is renaming all of its stations and is looking for suggestions on what to name the station. The Liberty Lake Station? Harvard Road Station? Bring your suggestions from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. There will be station tours and refreshments. Mako the arson dog is also expected to be there.

Today’s highlights

Troy Robertson, a 1979 Central Valley High School graduate, is on the upcoming season of the CBS hit show “Survivor.” Photo courtesy Troy Robertson

There are several really cool stories in today's Valley Voice for your reading pleasure. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has information on the Fab 14 - the 14 area high school seniors competing to be this year's Lilac queen and princesses. There are some Valley girls in the bunch - Hannah Allen of University High School, Syndee Scofield of Central Valley High School and Hailey Ann Murray of West Valley High School.

Reporter Pia Hallenberg has a story on 1979 Central Valley High School graduate Troy Robertson, who is being featured in the new season of “Survivor.” The new season begins on Feb. 15 on CBS. The Spokane Valley Fire Department recently released information on 2011 response times. The department met the standard for almost every type of call. I also have a little more information on last week's armed robbery arrest in Liberty Lake.

Photos of Newman Lake home destroyed in fire

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The Spokane Valley Fire Department provided the photos above of the Newman Lake home at 12611 N. East Newman Lake Drive completely destroyed by fire just after 1 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 24. Valley Fire assisted Newman Lake Fire District 13 with the fire under a mutual aid agreement. The fire is still under investigation.

Fire destroys Newman Lake home

A home at at 12611 N. East Newman Lake Drive was destroyed by fire shortly after 1 a.m. Tuesday morning. The three people inside when the fire began were able to evacuate safety, said Spokane Valley Fire Department Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford. Valley Fire sent two trucks, a battalion chief and a fire investigator to the scene under a mutual aid agreement with Newman Lake Fire District 13. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Check here for updates throughout the day. 

2-alarm fire ruled accidental

Yesterday's 2-alarm fire at Industrial Systems and Fabrication (5217 E. Broadway) was accidentally caused, according to a press release from Spokane Valley Fire Department Fire Marshal Kevin Miller. The business does metal fabrication and was doing grinding yesterday afternoon that caused sparks to smolder for hours before igniting the fire. The fire began about two hours after employees left for the day, Miller said. The estimated damage is at least $150,000. Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.