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

Couches set ablaze as students celebrate Gonzaga win

Firefighters work to extinguish a couch after Zag fans lit it on fire after the win against South Carolina on Saturday. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

Shortly after Gonzaga’s historic 77-73 win over South Carolina on Saturday, some rowdy fans set two couches ablaze in the alley north of the 800 block of East Sinto Avenue.

Several Spokane police officers and fire crews arrived to douse the blaze.

But rather than confronting the crowds, the firefighters smiled and watched the hundreds of fans dance and cheer. Several of the fans walked over and took photographs with the officers.

Lt. Dean Sprague said officers made no arrests, but they worked for several minutes to disperse the crowd.

“We are all Zags fans,” Sprague said. “All we are doing is trying to keep a lid on as tight as we can.”

Sprague said the city had several officers on duty to patrol the neighborhood.

“A lot of people paid a lot of money to live in this neighborhood,” Sprague said. “Our job is to keep it that way.”

Officers will not arrest the revelers as long as they remain “peaceful and cooperative. But as the night goes on, we’ll probably have to shift our focus,” he said.

As crowds danced in the back of pickups near the drenched and still smoking couches, one officer pulled at the springs of the charred skeleton of the former comfort lounge, which looked as if it was old before Gonzaga started its tournament run in 1999.

Someone asked the officer if he needed a new couch. He replied: “I’ve been divorced. I’ve seen worse.”