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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Region in brief: Fair attendance declines, rebounds after man’s escape

Spokane County Interstate Fair attendance rebounded Friday through closing day Sunday after an apparent drop in gate revenue on Thursday, the day a mental patient who’d killed a woman walked away from a field trip to the fair.

Attendance on Thursday, the day Phillip A. Paul escaped an Eastern State Hospital excursion, dropped by nearly 2,000 compared with the same day in 2008, fair Director Rich Hartzell said.

Paul was captured on Sunday.

The gross revenue at the carnival portion of the fair was down about $10,000 on Thursday, Hartzell said, attributing the drop to concern about possibly having an escapee in the area. The gate count was 20,054 on Thursday, compared with 21,947 on the same day in 2008.

But more than 30,000 people turned out on Friday and Saturday each, surpassing the gate on both days in 2008. Final fair attendance was 227,075 in 2009, down from 242,159 in 2008.

Mike Prager

Firefighters discover body after blaze in Rathdrum area

A badly burned body was recovered from the scene of a house fire Sunday evening in the Rathdrum area.

Neighbors near the residence at 10278 N. Church Road reported that they saw smoke coming from the manufactured home and attempted to put out the fire with garden hoses about 6:45 p.m.

Firefighters found the body inside two hours later, the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department reported. Investigators are trying to identify the body.

Staff reports

35-acre remote wildfire burns east of Hayden Lake

Forest Service officials are keeping an eye on the 35-acre Declare Independence fire, about 17 miles east of Hayden Lake.

The fire is being allowed to burn because it isn’t threatening private property, said Sam Gibbons, the Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District’s fire management officer. Stands of damaged lodgepole pine are going up in flames. The burning will spur growth of big-game forage, Gibbons said. Lightning in late July is believed to have caused the fire, which officials detected Sept. 11.

Staff reports