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Thursday, June 4, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sharp drop in calls as weather eases

What a difference a week can make. As temperatures rose in the past week, calls to the Spokane Valley Fire Department fell by more than one-third.

The department logged only 175 calls in the seven days that ended Wednesday night, compared with 265 in the previous week.

“Probably the warmer temperatures had something to do with it,” Deputy Fire Marshal Bill Clifford said. “We didn’t have many broken pipes or stuff like that.”

In a typical week, the department has 180 to 210 calls, Clifford estimated.

Two calls for general service in the past week included a broken water pipe in a house at 10611 E. 27th Ave. Sunday afternoon while no one was home. Firefighters let themselves in and shut off the water. No damage report was available.

The other call for general service was a routine rescue of a child accidentally locked inside a car.

Sunday’s broken pipe was the only one for the week, and not a single roof collapsed under the weight of snow. In the previous week, firefighters spent much of their time responding to weather-related calls, including sagging roofs, ice-ruptured pipes and vehicle accidents.

There were 23 vehicle accidents in the preceding week, compared with only two in the period ending Wednesday.

No one was injured badly enough to be taken to a hospital.

In fact, one of the victims was so little hurt that he ran away when firefighters responded to a one-car rollover about 9:15 p.m. Sunday in the 18800 block of East Trent Avenue. Firefighters called police and showed them which way the sprinting motorist went.

Structure fires and hazardous-materials calls came in threes.

Two of the fires were minor, and the third was a mutual aid call to 4308 S. Hatherly Circle in Fire District 8 last Saturday. Clifford didn’t know the cause or the extent of damage, but said a chimney fire apparently spread to the roof. No one was at home.

Two of the hazardous-materials calls were for natural gas odors in which no leaks were detected. The third, about 11 a.m. Jan. 8 in the 1400 block of North Wilbur Road, was for a chemical odor that turned out to be rug cleaner. The resident didn’t know a health-care provider had cleaned a spot on the carpet.

Firefighters were on their way to an afternoon car fire Jan. 9 on Interstate 90, but were told to stand down before they arrived. The motorist apparently extinguished the engine on his own, Clifford said.

Sixteen automatic alarms, all false or accidental, and 148 calls for emergency medical service rounded out the week.

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