An attache case of fake bombs, a downtown apartment fire and a South Hill house fire kept Spokane’s holiday weekend from a quiet ending.
A man visiting Terrace View Park about noon on Sunday found an attache case containing what appeared to be a grenade, a metal pipe bomb and several cylinders attached to a clock, said Spokane sheriff’s deputy Dave Reagan.
The case was lying under a picnic table. Thinking it had been misplaced, the man opened it, hoping to find the name of its owner, Reagan said.
Worried that a child would find the devices, the man took the case and drove about five miles to the Sheriff’s Department traffic unit office at 9411 E. Trent. The office is shared with the East and West Valley Sheriff’s Community Oriented Policing Effort (SCOPE).
A bomb-disposal crew used a robot to remove the case from the man’s car. Trent Avenue east of Argonne was closed for about 45 minutes while the robot picked the case out of the man’s car, Reagan said.
The case then was placed in a special truck designed to withstand an explosion and was taken to a disposal area on the West Plains.
After being sprayed with water and examined, all the devices were found to be fake, Reagan said.
“The grenade was a dummy practice grenade that you can buy in most Army surplus stores,” he said.
Reagan said deputies will start trying today to figure out who had planted the devices.
“The focus on (Sunday) was getting it out of the populated areas of the Valley,” he said.
However, other weekend emergencies in Spokane were far from fake.
About 11:30 p.m. Saturday night, smoke was pouring from a second floor room of the Saranac Hotel at 25-1/2 W. Main.
A 62-year-old man, suffering from severe burns, was taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center, said Spokane fire battalion chief Skip Powell.
The fire started in the man’s apartment, the contents of which were destroyed, Powell said. However, the cause of the fire is unknown.
Another man, complaining of chest pain and smoke inhalation, was treated and released at Deaconess Medical Center.
Four engines and two ladder trucks responded to the fire, which was brought under control within a half-hour, Powell said.
Most residents were allowed to return to the building around 2 a.m.; however, severe smoke damage occurred on the second floor, Powell said.
Another fire severely damaged a house in the 3300 block of East 30th on Sunday afternoon. No one was injured.
The fire was caused when a vinyl exhaust vent from a laundry dryer overheated and ignited, said battalion chief Hal Williams.
He said it is “doubtful” the house can be repaired.
The family has insurance and was staying with relatives on Sunday night, Williams said.
The only fireworks-related blaze of the weekend damaged a garage in the 900 block of East 37th. It was caused by an 11-year-old boy playing with fireworks.
Over the three-day weekend, the Washington State Patrol reported making 13 arrests for drunken driving. Three of those arrests involved accidents but no serious injuries.
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