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2-alarm fire under investigation

The cause of last night's 2-alarm fire at Industrial Systems and Fabrication at 5217 E. Broadway is still under investigation. The first Spokane Valley Fire Department crews on scene found heavy smoke and it was upgraded to a second alarm a few minutes later. The fire started in the garage bay area and took 35 firefighters to extinguish. Click here for more details.

Saturday’s highlights

Erin Haugh shows a group of the Valley Assembly Quilters a tool that she uses to punch holes on the edge of a quilt in preparation for lacing or crocheting. The group meets in a donated room at the Valley Assembly of God, shares a common interest in quilting and provides quilts to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center’s cancer unit. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Saturday's Valley Voice highlights are a day late this week because of the holiday, but there are still some good stories to check out. Reporter Lisa Leinberger visted with a group of quilters at Valley Assembly of God Church. They make quilts for cancer patients and have made 700 quilts in five years.

The Spokane Valley Hearing Examiner has ruled that the developer of a proposed Fourth Avenue Townhomes project near Shelley Lake must go back to the drawing board until the proposal complies with a development agreement that was negotiated with the city. That decision has relieved neighbors who complained about the plan and said it violated the agreement.

There are also some tips on how to avoid locking your kids inside the car, which seems to be a particular issue for Spokane Valley residents. The fire department usually responds at least once a week to a report of a child locked inside a car, sometimes more. Correspondent Steve Christilaw has a story about Central Valley High School senior Gaven Deyarmin, who plays football and basketball for the school.

Santa tours Spokane Valley

It's time for the second round of details on where Santa Claus will be as he tours the Spokane Valley area in the white Spokane Valley Fire Department Santa van. Make your lists and check them twice, because he'll be on his way soon. Check my previous post to get his location for tonight through Saturday. Santa will be out between 6 and 8 p.m. each night.

Sunday: south of Mission to 16th between Evergreen and Sullivan.

Monday: south of 16th to 32nd between Evergreen and Flora

Tuesday: south of Wellesley to Mission between University and Pines

Wednesday: south of Euclid to Mission between Flora and Campbell Road

Thursday Dec. 22: south of Mission to Sprague between Argonne and Pines 


Santa Claus is coming to town

The Spokane Valley Fire Department's Santa van is ready to roll again. The white van squires Santa around the Spokane Valley area every winter, giving kids a chance to visit the red-robed one and whisper what they want for Christmas in his ear.

The van will be making the rounds every night from 6 to 8 p.m. beginning Tuesday and going through Dec. 22. I'll post the schedule for the first few nights now, with more to follow later.

Tuesday: north of Sprague to Mission between Pines and Evergreen

Wednesday: south of 32nd to 44th between University and Sullivan

Thursday: south of Sprague to 16th between Havana and Argonne

Friday: south of Mission to 16th between Flora and Barker

Saturday: south of 16th to 32nd between Dishman-Mica Road and Pines

Picture preview

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We will have a bunch of good stories for you in the Thursday and Saturday Valley Voice sections, but I won't be here to post links. I will give you a little preview in the form of a picture slide show of some night training done at the Spokane Valley Fire Department's newly refurbished burn tower last week. It was cold and dark, but thankfully it wasn't snowing. You can find the story here tomorrow. Have a great Thanksgiving holiday, everyone. SR photos/J. Bart Rayniak

Update on Industrial Park fire

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There is some new information available on the fire at Spur Industries in the Spokane Valley Industrial Park on Tuesday. According to a press relase from Spokane Valley Fire Department Capt. Pat Schaffer, it was a metal shaving collection bag that was on fire on the exterior of the building. Crews determined that the metal shavings were not flammable and were not on fire. A firefighter used a forklift to remove the bag and crews doused the flames with foam, Schaffer said. The cause is under investigation and damage is estimated at $10,000. All photos courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Fire in Industrial Park

A fire is being reported in a business at Euclid and Flora in the Spokane Valley Industrial Park. The initial call reported fire in a sawdust hopper.  

11:12 a.m. update: The business is Spur Industries. According to its web site it is involved in metal "welding, machining or fabrication." Firefighters report the fire is in a hopper filled with metal shavings.

Saturday’s highlights

Central Valley defensive coordinator Steve Kent’s intense energy and enthusiasm has sparked his Bears in holding their opponents to just 12 points in their last three games, including two playoff wins. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Saturday's Valley Voice is packed to the gills with news from the Spokane Valley area. Correspondent Steve Christilaw checked in with the Central Valley High School football team, which has had a successful season. Spokane Valley City Council candidate Ben Wick has clinched a win over competitor Marilyn Cline to take a seat on the council. Wick was ahead by only 20 votes on election night, but he drew further ahead as the vote counting continued.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on last week's Liberty Lake City Council meeting, which operated without a quorum for a while. The Spokane Valley City Council, after much discussion and a close vote, agreed to allow city staff to apply for a grant to build a decant facility to process the waste removed from the city's drywells. The council also unanimously approved the 2012 budget.

Fire District 8, Fire District 13 and the town of Rockford are regrouping after fire levies and bonds failed at the November polls. Each is considering how to move forward after voters rejected their request for money. Commissioners from the Spokane Valley Fire Department heard a presentation on their 2012 budget last week, which includes the construction of a new Station 6.  

Update on house fire, wrong way driver

The fire reported early Monday morning at 619 N. Vista was in a vacant home that had been empty for several months, according to a press release from Spokane Valley Fire Department Capt. Pat Schaffer. When firefigthers arrived the fire had spread from the house to several nearby trees. Damage to the home is estimated at $100,000 and the cause is still under investigation.

Schaffer reports that the fire department did have several problems responding to the fire. The house is about 200 feet from the road and isn't visible from the street, he said. The driveway to the home also was not marked. The department urges everyone to make sure their address is clearly visible.

Reporter Meghann Cuniff has an interesting update on the wrong-way driver who caused a head on collision on I-90 near Liberty Lake in the early morning hours on Sunday. The three people in the car he hit were injured. The driver appeared to be drunk and was arrested by the Washington State Patrol for vehicular assault. Click here for more details.

Brush fire in Dishman Hills

Spokane Valley Fire Department crews are responding to a report of a brush fire in Dishman Hills behind Savage Land Pizza. The first crews coming into the area are reporting a column of smoke.

3 p.m. update: Crews report a 50x50 slow moving fire. 

House destroyed in fire

A home in the 7200 block of east Sixth was destroyed by fire early this morning. Spokane Valley Fire Department crews were dispatched at 4:12 a.m. A neighbor heard a popping noise, went outside and saw flames through a window in the home, said assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford.

The 53-year-old man living in the home was able to escape with minor injuries. Firefighters rescued two dogs and a cat is missing. Another cat died in the fire, Clifford said. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. The home is a total loss. "It was totally gutted," said Clifford. 

The resident did not have renters insurance and the homeowner did not have insurance either, he said. The Red Cross is assisting the resident. Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Fire reported in nursing home

Multiple Spokane Valley Fire Department crews have responded to a report of a bathroom full of smoke in a nursing home in the area Mission and Union. Police are being asked to close Mission, so avoid that area for a bit.  

Overturned car near Evergreen exit

Spokane Valley Fire Department crews are responding to reports of a car on its top in a grassy area next to I-90 at the westbound Evergreen exit.

1:37 p.m. update: I can't see very much on the DOT traffic camera feed, but crews are on the scene.

3:10 p.m. update: The driver in that crash has been arrested for driving under the influence and may also be charged with vehicular assault, according to a press release from the Washington State Patrol. The passenger was injured and taken to the hospital.

Friday update: The WSP is now saying that both people were out of the car when emergency crews arrived and they are not sure which of the two is the driver. The charge of DUI is still up in the air.

House fire on Grace

Spokane Valley Fire Department crews are responding to a house fire near Grace and Kari Lane. The 911 caller reported smoke in a basement laundry room and said everyone was evacuating.

Woman being rescued from home

Spokane Valley Fire Department crews are on the scene of a possible kitchen fire in the area of Jackson and Woodward Road. The 911 caller said an elderly woman inside the home had fallen and couldn't get out and that her daughter was trying to rescue her.

10:34 a.m. update: Crews say everyone is out of the home and the fire has been put out.

Arson and murder suspects arrested

In two separate incidents yesterday, police arrested a 15-year-old boy suspected of setting multiple arson fires and a 22-year-old man suspected in a triple murder outside Lodge Grass, Mont., on the Crow Indian Reservation.

Sheldon B. Chase was arrested during a traffic stop near the Spokane Valley Mall only a few hours after local law enforcement received a wanted flyer for the murder suspect. Click here for more details.

Crews from the Spokane Valley Fire Department responded to two arson fires between midnight and 9 a.m. on Wednesday. Three dumpsters were reported on fire behind a strip mall on the northwest corner of Sprague and Evergreen at 12:41 a.m. They were quickly put out and there was little damage. A caller reported at 9 a.m. that bushes were set on fire near the Numerica Credit Union at 14610 E. Sprague just a few blocks away.

The 15-year-old admitted setting the fires and also admitted to stealing a bicycle in Liberty Lake, said assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford. He will be charged with four counts of second degree arson and one count of third degree theft. Anyone in Liberty Lake missing a 10-speed bike can call the Fire Department at 928-1700 to describe it.

Burn restrictions lifted

The burn restrictions imposed in Spokane Valley, Millwood and Liberty Lake in early August will be lifted today, according to a press release from the Spokane Valley Fire Department. The restrictions applied to open burning and recreational fires. However, a permanent ban on yard waste fires is still in place.

Today’s highlights

Bubba Ferguson, Tyler Zandhuisen, Chris Lewis, Kaleb Allen, Aaron Danneker and Loren Vanden Berg muscle up a hide-a-bed couch from the banks of the Spokane River near South Riverton and Desmet during the Seventh Annual Spokane River Clean-Up in 2009. SR file photo.

It has been a busy week in Spokane Valley and we've got the news for you in today's Valley Voice. If you are looking for a volunteer opportunity this weekend, check out the ninth annual Spokane River Clean-Up, This year several sites in the Valley have been selected to be a part of the clean up day, which is organized by the Friends of the Falls. You could also choose to help restore the hillside at the Mirabeau Park trailhead in a project organized by the Spokane River Forum.

Spokane Valley city councilman Dean Grafos paid a visit to the Spokane Valley Fire Department commissioners meeting this week to talk about response time delays at Station 1 caused by the one-way segment of Sprague Avenue.

During this week's City Council meeting, the council members had a long discussion before voting on how much funding to allocate to social service and economic development agencies that applied for grants.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by Adams Elementary last week when the school was visited by Ronald McDonald. The elementary schools in the Central Valley School District collected 1,150 pounds of pop tops, which will provide 30 night at the Ronald McDonald House. The house provides housing for families of children undergoing medical treatment.

Saturday’s highlights

The newest roundabout in the Spokane Valley is at Flora Road and Mission Avenue. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

We managed to pack a lot of news into Saturday's Valley Voice. We looked into the growing popularity of roundabouts, which are popping up all over Spokane County. The city of Spokane Valley now has three.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger listened to the superintendents of four Spokane Valley school districts talk to the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce education committee about cuts they have made over the years because of reduced funding from the State. She also stopped by East Valley High School, which installed an automated external defribrillator last week.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department had a busy week with several arson fires and a major two-alarm fire at a medical building.  

Pot for homework-induced arthritis?

A medical marijuana patient contacted when a fire broke out at his Greenacres home told police he had been prescribed pot because of arthritis in his hand caused by "too much homework," authorities say.

 The 19-year-old man and his 22-year-old roommate had 27 marijuana plants at his father's home in the 2500 block of South Timberlane Drive, which they are legally able to have under the state's medical marijuana law.

The plants were not seized after the fire last Friday, and neither man was arrested, but Spokane Valley police Sgt. Dave Reagan sent out a news release today that said Detective Travis Hansen asked the men what their special ailments were because "they were so young and appeared to be fit and in good health."

In addition to the 19-year-old's reported homework-induced arthritis, the 22-year-old said he had severe pain in one of his feet. Reagan said suspicions were aroused when one of the tenants told a fire inspector had had "smoked a bowl" and left to get something to eat. 

But the fire does not appear to be caused by smoked marijuana, rather the 19-year-old may have discarded a cigarette in bark outside the home, said Bill Clifford, spokesman for the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

"He smokes a lot, both cigarettes and marijuana," Clifford said. "He reminded me of Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

Damage is estimated at $300,000, Clifford said. The home is insured.

The man's 53-year-old father suffered burns to right arm, neck and face while escaping the blaze, which began while he was downstairs watching TV. A smoke alarm alerted him to the blaze.

A neighbor also was treated for smoke inhalation he suffered while stopping the fire from spreading to his home.

RV on fire on Argonne off ramp

An RV is in flames on the westbound I-90 Argonne off ramp in Spokane Valley. Spokane Valley Fire Department crews are responding. An officer also just radioed in that a gawking driver caused an accident on I-90 near the off ramp.

Brush fire near Mirabeau Park

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Spokane Valley Fire Department crews are responding to a brush fire in the forested area south of Mirabeau Parkway near Mirabeau Park. Someone called in and reported seeing a column of smoke.

9:00 a.m. update - It sounds like this fire is in the same part of the Mirabeau Park Natural Area where the fire department fought a brush fire yesterday afternoon. I've posted some pictures of yesterday's fire that are from the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

More details on two-alarm fire

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Photos courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Reporter Mike Prager and I have a story in today's paper on the explosion and fire yesterday morning in the Valley Mission Professional Building across from the Valley Hospital. Someone reported seeing light smoke just before 7 a.m. yesterday and as fire crews were responding a second call came in that there had been an explosion and fire. An oral surgeons office has been completely destroyed and the building is closed as damage is assessed. It was quite a mess. The explosion shattered windows and threw debris into neighboring parking lots.

Office building fire is out

Spokane Valley Fire Department crews on the scene of an office building fire on East Mission across from Valley Hospital are reporting that the fire is out, but there are still a few hot spots left. Crews are still on the scene and Mission is completely shut down east of Pines. The fire started around 7 a.m. and witnesses said there may have been an explosion. Click here for more details.

Spokane area remembers 9/11

Spokane Valley Fire Department Capts. Pat Schaffer, right, and Tag Baugh hoist a 1,200-pound steel beam that was recovered from the World Trade Center into place at the department's new administration building Sunday. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Yesterday SR photographer J. Bart Rayniak and I visited three local memorial events honoring those that died in the Sept. 11 attacks 10 years ago. The Spokane Valley Fire Department dedicated its new administration building and installed a 1,200 pound steel beam that was part of the twin towers. Nearly 260 firefighters from all over the Northwest climbed 110 flights of stairs, the same number of stairs in the Towers, in the downtown Bank of America building. They each carried the photo and biography of at least one of the New York firefighters who died that day. A memorial service held during the Spokane Interstate Fair was well attended and included firefighters and police. Click here for the story and here for a photo slideshow.

9/11 memorial events

Spokane Valley Fire Marshall Kevin Miller looks at a 1,200-pound steel girder that was recovered from one of the towers at the World Trade Center. File photo/J. Bart Rayniak

There are several Sept. 11 memorial events planned in Spokane Valley on Sunday, the 10th anniversary of the attacks. The first is at 6:40 a.m. at the Spokane Valley Fire Department administration building (next to Station 8) at 2110 N. Wilbur Road. During the ceremony a piece of steel beam from the Towers will be installed in the building, which is under construction.

In the afternoon Valley Fire will be among those participating in a memorial ceremony at the Spokane Interstate Fair at 1:30 p.m. A procession will begin at the main gate and head into the grandstand area for the ceremony. You will have to pay to get into the Fair at Broadway and Havana but there won't be a charge to get into the grandstand for the event.

If you are looking for a more spiritual event, four Valley churches will host a memorial service at 4 p.m. Sunday at Zion Lutheran Church, 8304 E. Buckeye. The pastors of Millwood Presbyterian Church, New Hope Bible Church and St. Mary's Catholic Church will help lead the service.

Saturday’s highlights

Snowplows are parked waiting for winter at the new City of Spokane Valley public works facility on East Euclid Avenue just west of Flora Road near the Spokane Business and Industrial Park. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Now that we're refreshed from the long holiday weekend, it's time to take a look back at some Saturday Valley Voice stories that deserve a look. The City of Spokane Valley has moved into its new Street and Stormwater Maintenance facility on the back edge of the Spokane Valley Industrial Park. The new site has plenty of room for all the trucks and snow plows.

Four Spokane Valley City Council candidates involved in a joint campaign event in early July had, with one exception, not reported any donations received to put on the event as of last week. The Public Disclosure Commission said that even though the donations should have been reported long ago, it would likely not seek any disciplinary action such as fines unless a complaint is received.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department has become one of only 144 departments world wide to become internationally accredited. Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in with Liberty Lake SCOPE volunteers, who patrol the city trails on golf course and do school patrols. She also reports that East Valley raised $1,100 from its sale of old uniforms.

Cat rescued from burning basement

Spokane Valley firefighters doused a basement fire today, and rescued the family cat while they were at it.

Damage to the home at 6918 E. 6th Ave. was estimated at $4,000. Firefighters said the fire was confined to the basement and investigators were still trying to determine how it ignited.

The homeowner called 9-1-1 after smelling smoke at the rear of the home and then discovering thick black smoke billowing from the basement, according to the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

No injuries were reported.

Brush fire update

There is a little bit more information available on yesterday's brush fire near Saltese Road and Sullivan. The fire was about 100 feet by 50 feet when firefighters arrived, then blowing embers ignited a second fire about 100 yards away, said Spokane Valley Fire Department assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford. The department was assisted by the Department of Natural Resources and the Bureau of Land Management in putting out the fire.

Clifford said that witnesses saw three teenage boys in the area just before the fire started. Anyone with information on the fire is asked to call the department at 928-1700.

Brush fire near Saltese and Sullivan

The Spokane Valley Fire Department is responding to a brush fire in the area of Saltese Road and Neidham just off Sullivan Road. The first crew on the scene reported fire in the brush and trees.

2:16 p.m. update: The fire department is now asking for the Sheriff's Office to provide traffic control, so it sounds like some roads will be shut down. Avoid that area for now.

2:19 p.m. update: Saltese is shut down between Sullivan and Conklin. Fire crews report the fire is in the tree tops and is moving north.

3:16 p.m. update: Fire crews said the fire is contained and they are in "mop up" mode.