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

Explosion, fire destroy large Cheney home

Firefighters attack a fire at a large,  rural home in Cheney on Saturday. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

An explosion rocked a Cheney-area home Saturday while firefighters were inside battling a blaze that would end up gutting the house.

Spokane County Fire District 3 crews were called to 12224 S. Gwendolyn Lane shortly after noon Saturday. When the first crews arrived they saw smoke coming from the attic, but a resident who came out of the house said the fire started in a basement machine room, said Division Chief Debby Dodson.

Crews had been inside the home for several minutes when chaotic radio calls reported an explosion and a mayday call alerted firefighters to evacuate immediately.

“We did get them out within 10 seconds,” Dodson said.

No one was injured, and the cause of the fire and explosion are still under investigation.

The stubborn fire sent flames through the roof for hours as crews dumped an estimated 30,000 gallons of water on the house. Spokane County Fire District 8 sent firefighters and a water tanker to assist.

Dodson said firefighters were very low on water at one point. The District 8 tanker made two trips and one of the District 3 engines made repeated trips to refill, heading out again as soon as the water in their tanks was pumped into another engine.

The fire caused the first floor to collapse into the basement, Dodson said. Much of the roof was gone as well.

“It started in the basement and worked its way up,” she said.

Crews had problems fighting the fire because the home was very large and had vaulted ceilings, Dodson said. The fire spread into the attic and was hard to access, she said.

One firefighter was treated for dehydration at the scene but did not require a trip to the hospital.