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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane Valley fire roundup: Over-heated vehicle, fireplace ashes cause fires

UPDATED: Wed., Dec. 27, 2017

Firefighters responded to two garage fires in Spokane Valley that caused thousands of dollars in damage during the weekend of Dec. 15-17.

At about 8 p.m. Dec. 15, crews responded to a garage fire at 13307 E. Bitterroot Lane.

“When (firefighters) arrived at the scene, everyone inside the home was outside and safe,” said department spokeswoman Melanie Rose.

Investigators determined the fire was caused accidentally by a mechanical failure in a 2011 Chevy Silverado parked in one of three garage bays.

Investigators believe the vehicle was driven in four-wheel drive for a continuous amount of time, which caused it to overheat in the garage. All three vehicles parked in the garage were destroyed with $180,000 of smoke and water damage reported.

An off-duty firefighter at 8:45 a.m. on Dec. 16 observed heavy fire coming from an attached garage at 4209 S. Sunderland Road in southern Spokane Valley.

“The fire spread into top floor of the house, but we were able to stop it pretty quickly,” said Rose.

The off-duty firefighter obtained entry into the home, but didn’t observe any residents or pets.

He shut all doors as he left and that helped keep smoke damage out of the rooms, said Rose.

The homeowner used a metal bucket to remove ashes from a fireplace and placed it to cool outside the home for a couple of days, but emptied the ashes before they were fully extinguished into a plastic garbage can located in the garage, which caused the fire. Vehicle and garage damage is estimated at $95,000.

Rose said if residents are disposing of ashes in metal buckets, it’s advised to let them cool for a week, while adding water periodically and stirring them to make sure they are fully extinguished.

Other calls Dec. 11-24

Dec. 13: An 11-year-old girl was struck by a car while running across the street near the intersection of Broadway Avenue and McDonald Road. The girl was taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries.

Dec. 17: At 9:40 p.m., crews responded to a call from a home on the 3400 block of North Sargent Road in Millwood. Residents reported an outlet on fire near a fireplace on the main floor of the home. A fire originated from a second fireplace in the basement of the home, spread to the main floor and melted the mantle covering and insulator on the electrical outlet wiring.

Dec. 19: A 69-year-old woman was struck by a car outside of T.J. Maxx around 3:30 p.m. at 14700 E. Indiana Ave. Paramedics treated her at the scene and she was transported to the hospital for nonlife-threatening injuries to her shoulder and forearm.

Dec. 23: At 6:10 a.m., crews responded to a call at the 900 block of North Meaver Lane. A physically disabled male on oxygen reported a tripped breaker that caused oxygen to shut off. Crews reset the breaker upon a resident’s request.

Dec. 23: Around 10 a.m. crews responded to a call from the 15200 block of East Riverside Lane. A vehicle struck a fire hydrant and drove off. The hydrant was subsequently reported out of service and crews notified Vera Water and Power for repair.

By the numbers: Crews responded to 633 calls in the two weeks from Dec. 11 to Dec. 24, including 491 calls for emergency medical services. Other responses included 69 vehicle accidents, and 14 service calls – half of which were vehicle lockouts.

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