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Spokane Valley Fire Dept. is tweeting

I mentioned last week that the Spokane Valley Fire Department has joined the Twitter world, but I thought it might be helpful to mention what kinds of calls will be tweeted and which will not. It's set up so that calls are automatically tweeted with a brief description and the general location.

Calls like structure fires, vehicle fires, brush fires, extrications, water rescues, serious auto accidents and those involving hazardous materials will be tweeted. The standard medical calls and minor car accidents will not be mentioned. The tweets will also include the occasional safety message and notifications of new press releases.

You can find the department at @SpokaneValleyFD. And you can always check their web site to get details of calls for the last 96 hours as well as see press releases and pictures.  

Saturday’s highlights

Quarterback Gaven Deyarmin (center in white) returns for his third season as a starter and team leader for the Central Valley Bears. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

It never fails. I tried to sneak quietly away from the blog Friday for a day off and it was nonstop action. I missed mail thieves, the grand opening of the new Harley Davidson dealership, a street brawl and the identification of last week's mysterious boom (an improvised explosive attached to helium balloons).  

But I can still bring you highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Correspondent Steve Christilaw has the season's first look at the football teams at Central Valley High School and University High School. Catholic Charities seems to be taking the wait-and-see approach with their proposed low income senior housing complex next to St. John Vianney. It doesn't look like the issue is going to go away soon.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department commissioners spent some time last week looking at the 2012 budget, which looks healthy. The department has plans to demolish and rebuild Station 6 on Sprague on the west end of town.

The Spokane Valley City Council spent about 90 minutes last week discussing the city's sign code and what changes might be made. A lot of the focus was on temporary signs and the A-frame or sandwich board signs.

Accident closing Sullivan at I-90

I'm hearing reports of a bad accident on the eastbound I-90 Sullivan off-ramp. The Spokane Valley Fire Department is calling for extrication equipment. Spokane Valley Police are calling it a "serious injury accident" and detouring traffic, so if you are heading toward Sullivan it might be a good idea to pick another route. "It's a mess up here," said one officer.

4:22 p.m. update: Northbound Sullivan traffic is being detoured at Broadway; southbound traffic appears to be fine.

Vacant home on fire

A resident in the 12900 block of East Valleyway called in to report that smoke was coming from the attic of a nearby vacant home that is for sale. The first crews from the Spokane Valley Fire Department reported seeing "light smoke" when they arrived.

Fire department open house

Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

I'm about to head out the door for a nice, three day weekend (so no blogging tomorrow), but before I go I wanted to remind everyone of the Spokane Valley Fire Department open house Saturday at Station 4. The department is in the midst of giving its fire stations names rather than numbers and is looking for public input on what to name the station, which is located at 22406 E. Wellesley in Otis Orchards.

Saturday's open house will be from 1 to 4 p.m. People can talk to the crew, tour the station, have refreshments and meet arson dog Mako. I'm sure they'll have some stickers on hand for the kids.

Today’s highlights

The statue, called Berry Picker, is an enlarged replica of a small bronze by the late artist Nancy McLaughlin. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

The City of Spokane Valley has a new piece of art to boast about. Last week a crowd gathered for the unveiling of the Berry Picker, a larger-than-life bronze statue of a Native American woman. It is just behind CenterPlace and within shouting distance of another large bronze, this one of a mountain man, donated to the city a few years ago.

The Spokane Valley City Council spent a lot of time this week discussing a proposed ballot measure to convert Sprague and Appleway to two-way between University and Argonne. Some citizens testified that they thought the bond proposal was unnecessarily expensive and seemed to be designed to fail.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to some longtime volunteers at West Valley SCOPE about their work, including hosting the annual West Valley Days event. The Spokane Valley Fire Department Commissioners voted this week on what wording to put on a plaque that will accompany a piece of steel beam from the World Trade Center towers when it is dedicated next month. They asked for suggestions from the community and selected their favorite.

Correspondent Val Putnam has a preview of Millwood Daze, which is set for Aug. 27. The list of things going on that day is long and includes breakfast, a fun run, live music, vendors, art festival and more. It sounds like it would be easy to spend the entire day in Millwood and still not be able to check it all out.

Woman trapped in car escapes injury

Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Newman Lake Fire District and Spokane Valley Fire Department crews responded this morning to help a woman whose car had gone off the road and flipped near Sutton Bay in Newman Lake. Newman Lake Fire Chief Keith Yamane said the woman told firefighters she was uninjured even though her car landed 25 feet down a steep embankment. "They transported her in to get her checked out," he said.

Crews were on scene for a while, but most of the time was spent stabilizing the car and carrying the woman up the steep slope, Yamane said. He and a Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy used a winch on Yamane's brush truck to hold the car in place, then more lines were added as more crews arrived. "I think they tied the front end of the car to a tree," he said. "There wasn't a whole lot holding that car up. If it had started rolling again it would have rolled another 20 or 30 feet."

The woman was in a soft top jeep and it was easy to simply tear a hole in the top when firefighters reached her, Yamane said.

Update on mobile home fire

A dog and a cat died in the mobile home fire reported around 2 p.m. yesterday in the 7200 block of East Second and another dog is missing. No one was injured in the fire, though, so that's good news. Neighbors spotted smoke and called it in. According to a press release from fire marshal Kevin Miller, the middle section of the mobile home was fully involved in fire when crews arrived. The cause of the fire hasn't been determined yet. More information may be available later in the week.

Mobile home on fire on Second Ave.

A mobile home is on fire in the 7200 block of East Second. Responding Spokane Valley Fire Department crews report seeing a "decent column of smoke" and the mobile home is "well involved." The neighbor who called it in said the windows had been blown out. The Fire Department is now calling for police to respond because there is an "irrational homeowner" on the scene.

Accident is closing 32nd

There has been a car accident in the area of 32nd and Glenn that is causing the Spokane Valley Police Department to shut down 32nd. The Spokane Valley Fire Department extrication team has been called. Details from the scanner are slim, but I'll keep my ears open.

2:10 p.m. update: KHQ is reporting that the pedestrian hit by a car at 32nd and Glenn has died. Officers called for a chaplain on the scanner a bit ago.

Semi on fire on Pines

The Spokane Valley Fire Department is reponding to a call involving a smoking semi at 6th and Pines. The dispatcher said there are "no hazardous materials or explosives." Good to know.

“You could kill a horse”

My Saturday Wise Words interview was with Larry Rider, deputy chief of Spokane Valley Fire Department. He talked about the difference between fitness levels 32 years ago, when he first became a firefighter, and now. His imagery in the excerpt below certainly reflects the difference in eating habits then and now.

Back when I first came on, they’d get oysters and they’d batter fry them. Or the guy would take bacon grease and pour it over his eggs. You could kill a horse. They wondered why they were dying of heart attacks. Today you’ll see the guys steaming vegetables. It’s just an entirely different culture than it was 32 years ago.

But it does make you wonder what we've had to give up in flavor for long-term health.I still miss chicken liver pasta, for instance.

What kill-a-horse-foods do you miss?

(S-R photo by Colin Mulvany)

Coming on Saturday

We've got more good stuff coming your way in Saturday's Valley Voice. Spokane Valley Partners had an open house this week to celebrate a recent grant and reporter Lisa Leinberger. Lisa also stopped by the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum, which is getting ready to display a sign from the old East Trent Motor In.

The Spokane Valley hearing examiner recently made his decision on a new part of the Coyote Rock development along the Spokane River near Plantes Ferry Park. He ruled that the developer has to build homes set back 200 feet from a new high water mark set by the Department of Ecology. The proposed plat has been sent back to the developer, Coeur d'Alene based Neighborhood Inc., for revision.

There will also be a wrap up of the last week of calls for the Spokane Valley Fire Department. They responded to fires started by everything from a boy playing with a magnifying glass to a Robin that landed in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Three arrested for arson, a fourth sought

Aleksander Shingarey. Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Three people have been arrested in connection with a recent arson fire in the 4400 block of East 15th in Spokane Valley and fourth person, Aleksander N. Shingarey, 23, is now wanted on a charge of first degree arson.

Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest is offering a reward for information that leads to Shingarey's arrest. He is 5' 06' tall and weighs 145 pounds. He has brown hair and hazel eyes. His last known address was in the 4000 block of East 23rd in Spokane. According to the Spokane Valley Police Department his nine year criminal history includes convictions for riot, assault, minor in possession of alcohol, DUI, disorderly conduct and negligent driving. Anyone with information on his whereabouts can call (800) 222-TIPS. Tipsters can remain anonymous.

Sergey A. Kravchenko, 27, and Maksim P. Oboznyy, 21, were both arrested on Friday. Roman I. Ryakhovskaya, 21, turned himself in on Saturday. All remain in the Spokane County Jail with a $100,000 bail.

The arson fire, which caused over $100,000 in damage, was reported at 3 a.m. on July 24 while the family living there was out of town. Neighbors reported seeing a dark colored car drive away with its lights off. The Spokane Valley Fire Department's arson dog, Mako, alerted on several areas inside the home, indicating that accelerants were used.

The family was able to identify possible suspects, said Fire Marshal Kevin Miller. "They gave us some possible suspects, then we ran those guys down," he said. "It appears that they were acquaintances with the family."

Arson suspected in Valley house fire

Arson caused a fire that damaged a home in Spokane Valley early Sunday, officials said today.

The blaze at 4418 E. 15th Ave., caused more than $100,000 in damage to the home and took more than 25 firefighters to quickly contain.

The family was away camping for the weekend, according to the Spokane Valley Police Department.

Crews were called to the home about 3 a.m. and saw smoke and flames coming from the front of the building. They believe the fire burned and smoldered "for some time" before it was reported, according to a news release by Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford, department spokesman.

Neighbors reported hearing noises and seeing a dark-colored vehicle with hits headlights off speeding away from the home, which is owned by Mandi J. Nordhagen, according to property records.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233 or the Fire Department at (509) 928-1700.

Family loses home to arson

A family returned from camping Sunday night to a rude shock. Their rental home had burned in a fire that fire investigators believe was arson. The Spokane Valley Fire Department was called to the 4400 block of East 15th at 3 a.m. Sunday morning. When firefighters arrived they saw fire and heavy smoke coming from the front of the house, said assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford. The fire had apparently burned inside for some time before it was noticed since no one was home.

Neighbors reported seeing a dark colored car drive away with its lights off, said Clifford. The department's arson dog, Mako, was brought in to sniff for accelerants. "He found several spots inside the home," Clifford said. Anyone with information on the arson is asked to call Crime Check at 456-2233.

The damage to the home is estimated to be at least $100,000. The home was insured, but the family of two adults and three children who were renting the house did not have renters insurance.  

Coming on Saturday

I hear we are expecting thunderstorms tomorrow, so it sounds like a good day to stay inside and read the Saturday Valley Voice. I blogged about the inchworm stolen from Discovery Park the other day and in the Voice I'll have a story with more details, including what the Parks Department plans to do to stem the rash of vandalism and thefts.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in with the Newman Lake SCOPE group, who are looking for more volunteers to swell their ranks. Since I was out and about last week on the day I usually get the weekly call details from the Spokane Valley Fire Department I have two weeks of information for you tomorrow. There were a lot of fires, including two mobile homes destroyed and numerous illegal fires.

You'll also get a second report from this week's Spokane Valley City Council meeting. They had a lengthy discussion on putting the one-way Sprague issue on the November ballot. Nothing has been finalized yet, but they took a couple steps forward.

Mobile home destroyed in early morning fire

This Spokane Valley mobile home was destroyed by fire early in the morning of July 13, 2011. Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Several people called 911 this morning shortly after 4 a.m. to report a mobile home on fire in the 4900 block of East Fourth Ave. One of the calls was from the 79-year-old resident, who was sleeping on his couch and awoke because of the heat of the fire, said Spokane Valley Fire Department assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford. He tried to put out the fire without success and went to a neighbor's to call for help.

About 25 firefighters responded, but the mobile home was in flames and couldn't be saved. The damage is so extensive that the cause of the fire is undetermined, Clifford said. The mobile home was insured and the man is being assisted by Red Cross. He suffered minor smoke inhalation but was otherwise uninjured.

Teen not missing in Spokane River after all

Last night the Spokane Valley Fire Department's swift water rescue team and the Spokane County Sheriff's Office helicopter spent hours scouring the Spokane River after a group of teens reported that a friend was missing after he fell in the river east of Harvard. The teen wasn't wearing a life vest and after hours of fruitless searching crews had to abandon the search when it got dark. But word has come this morning that the teen was safe at home the whole time. Click here for the report from this morning's paper and here for the update.

Propane truck on fire

A caller has reported that a propane truck is on fire in the area of  Fruithill Road and Upriver Drive. The first Spokane Valley Fire Department crew on the scene reports the cab of the truck is "fully involved." It sounds like Sheriff's Deputies are planning to shut down traffic in the area. One deputy told the dispatcher "This thing looks like it's burning down to the ground."

4:05 p.m. update: Firefighters report the flames are out, but it sounds like it's going to take time to clean up the mess.

4:17 p.m. update: Fruithill Road is completely shut down north of Upriver, so avoid that area for a bit.

5:34 p.m. update: The road is now open.

SV Fire Department rolls out new web site

I spent some time late yesterday poking around the Spokane Valley Fire Department's new web site and came away pretty impressed. The old one was rather clunky and not very useful, but this one has tons of bells and whistles. My favorite is the listing of recent calls. The home page comes up with a brief mention of the most recent five calls. But if you click on the link right below that, you'll get all the calls for the last 96 hours. Each entry lists the date, time, type of call, which engines responded and an approximate address (it lists cross streets, not the exact house or business address). If you click on the address a map will pop up showing that location. And if you click on one of the engines that responded, it will give you a picture of that apparatus. It can come in handy if you want to check and see why there were a couple of fire trucks on your street.

There are also press releases, photos from fire scenes, meeting minutes, newsletters and a calendar of upcoming events. Mako the arson dog has his own page. You can even bring up a web cam that is pointed at the new administration building construction site so you can check on its progress. I encourage everyone to visit the site and start clicking on links.

Saturday’s highlights

Spokane Valley Fire Marshall Kevin Miller looks at a 1,300-pound steel girder that was recovered from one of the towers at the World Trade Center. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Well, I hope everyone had a nice, long weekend. I just have one question. Is it too early in the season to start complaining about the heat? Some kids in Millwood probably are complaining about it. In Saturday's Valley Voice correspondent Valerie Putnam reported that efforts to repair the city's wading pool aren't moving very fast and the pool is still dry. Whether it will open at all this year is still being debated.

Longtime Spokane Valley fixture Sally Jackson is back on the baseball field as a coach. She and her husband Ron both coached for many years before Ron died in April. Correspondent Steve Christilaw spoke to her about going back on the field.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department has finally received a piece of steel beam from the World Trade Center towers. The department is preparing an installation ceremony for Sept. 11. Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in with Edgecliff SCOPE and spoke to volunteers about how they are working to improve their neighborhood. The Spokane Valley City Council had a lengthy discussion on whether to put the one-way Sprague issue on the November ballot. No final decision has been made yet, but the council did agree to move forward with a traffic study that will allow a cost estimate for the work to be prepared.

Coming on Saturday

We'll have a great Valley Voice on Saturday to help everyone kick off their Fourth of July weekend on a proper note. The Spokane Valley Fire Department is creating plans for a ceremony to dedicate a piece of steel beam that was recovered after the World Trade Center towers collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001. I'll have information on how the public can be involved in that.

There will be an update on the Millwood wading pool and reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by Edgecliff SCOPE to see what the group of volunteers is up to. The Spokane Valley City Council had a discussion this week on whether to pay for a traffic study in preparation for putting the issue of one-way Sprague on the November ballot. The decided to move forward with the study and the vote on whether to put the issue on the ballot must be made by Aug. 15.

I won't post my story links on Monday as usual because of the holiday. I'll see you back here Tuesday morning.

Mobile home fire reported

Spokane Valley Fire Department crews have responded to a mobile home fire in the 800 block of North Bowman near the Sprague and I-90 interchange. The first crews to arrive said there was heavy smoke on all sides. The residents have reportedly evacuated safely.

The hills are not burning down

From what I've heard over the scanner, people have been calling 911 over the last two days to report a fire in the hills above Barker and Trent. There's no reason to worry, though. The Spokane Valley Fire Department is conducting wildland fire training up there. The burning will continue through tomorrow, so expect to see a column of smoke in the area occasionally. If people get too enthusiastic about shooting off illegal fireworks this weekend, the firefighters may need that training sooner rather than later.

Work crews hit natural gas line

Spokane Valley Fire Department crews are responding to a call for a broken natural gas line at Montgomery and Van Marter. There has been utility work going on in the area and apparently a backhoe hit the gas line.

1 p.m. update: A one inch line has been broken. Traffic is being rerouted around the area until Avista crews can get the break fixed.

Van on fire on Broadway

Spokane Valley Fire Department crews are responding to a cargo van on fire on Broadway just east of Fancher. The van is reportedly partially full of insulation. Expect traffic problems in the area.

House fire in Liberty Lake

Spokane Valley Fire Department crews responded to a house fire yesterday afternoon in Liberty Lake. The fire in the 1200 block of South Liberty Drive was reported at 4:34 p.m. It appears the fire started in the engine compartment of a car parked in front of the garage, according to a press release from assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford. The fire spread to surrounding bushes and trees before being noticed by a neighbor, who also knocked on the front door to alert the family inside the home. One adult and two small children were able to escape unharmed. Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Whimsical Pig burns in two alarm fire

The poor Whimsical Pig. The apartment complex with the unique name has been a magnet for trouble lately. Nearly two weeks ago an allegedly drunk driver plowed into the complex, hitting a fence, a truck and a carport. The damage from that is still evident. And last night the Spokane Valley Fire Department responded to a two alarm fire at the complex.

The call came in at 6:45 p.m. and an AMR ambulance crew nearby reported seeing flames going up three floors, said Capt. Pat Schaffer in a press release. The first crew on the scene found a fire on a balcony that had gone up the outside of the building and into the attic.

No one was injured but two apartments were heavily damaged and several others were filled with smoke. Electrical issues caused by the fire forced the temporary relocation of residents of 10 apartments. The cause of the fire is still under investigation and the damage is estimated at more than $100,000, Schaffer said.  

Today’s highlights

Doug Scott closes the gate to a pasture at his Mica/Valleyford farm off Jackson Road. The three-story barn was built on what began as the California Ranch in the 1870s. It was used as a way station for the Kentuck Trail. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

There are so many good stories in today's Valley Voice I don't know where to begin. People living near Saltese Flats have probably noticed a whole bunch of water pooling up on the land that was once a lake before it was drained for farming more than a century ago. But Spokane County officials haven't started their plan of flooding the flats with treated wastewater. It's just Mother Nature at work, as reporter John Craig outlines in his story.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to Horizon Middle School students who are working to clean up nearby Browns Park. Spokane Valley Fire Department arson dog Mako visited the Spokane Valley City Council meeting this week to provide a chance of pace. In other fire department news, Fire Chief Mike Thompson was just named the Washington State 2011 Fire Chief of the Year.

In addition to being a sucker for pictures of cute critters, I also love historic red barns. We've got a great picture of one today to accompany a Landmarks column by correspondent Stefanie Pettit. She wrote about a barn near Mica that was built in the 1800s on what was then the California Ranch. It served as a way station on the Kentuck Trail and is still in use today.

And if you read correspondent Cindy Hval's touching story on a Mother's Day luncheon for birth mothers who gave their children up for adoption I recommend grabbing a couple of tissues first.

Alert readers may have noticed that yesterday I mentioned a story about a new sign at Liberty High School. It was in the North/South Voice today, but won't appear in the Valley Voice until Saturday. So now we all have something to look forward to.