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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Fire roundup: Gas leak shuts down businesses, traffic on East Broadway in Spokane Valley

The Spokane Valley Fire Department this week battled a natural gas leak that shut down several businesses and blocked off a section of Broadway Avenue between Wilbur and Pines roads for several hours.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department on Feb. 28 responded to a natural gas leak on the 12200 block of East Broadway Avenue around 4:15 p.m. Firefighters made contact with operators of a boring machine that had punctured a gas line in the eastbound lanes of Broadway Avenue. Several adjacent buildings were found to have detectable levels of natural gas. Nine buildings subsequently were evacuated and power was disconnected to avoid a possible explosion.

Avista Utilities brought in equipment to gain access to the natural gas lines, while firefighters sprayed the street with water.

Avista was able to shut off the natural gas around 7 p.m. and remained on scene to repair the gas line. Firefighters returned to the businesses to ensure the natural gas had dissipated. No injuries were reported.

Fire investigators this week determined the cause of a Feb. 25 mobile home fire was due to an overloaded power strip on the back deck that had two large freezers plugged into it. An adjacent wooden doghouse caught fire. While the residents and one parrot were able to evacuate, the mobile home was a complete loss with $19,200 in estimated damages.

“Please don’t overload your power strips,” said Melanie Rose, spokeswoman for the fire department. “Appliances should be plugged directly into a wall.”

Other calls Feb. 26 to March 4

Feb. 27: Fire crews at 2:40 a.m. responded to a fire on the 9300 block of East Grace Avenue. The homeowner smelled a strong odor of smoke and saw flames in a planting pot. When crews arrived to the residence, they noticed a broken planting pot with potting soil pulled away from home with smoldering embers and soil thrown into the snow. The homeowner’s son was using the planting pot to put out cigarette butts. Firefighters ensured the fire was fully extinguished.

March 1: Firefighters responded to a hazardous materials call at 1 a.m. on the 12200 block of East Broadway Avenue that reported a natural gas leak. When crews arrived, they met with an Avista representative, who said the natural gas leak from Feb. 28 was migrating toward a business. The Avista representative was concerned that natural gas was building up inside other buildings. Crews found high concentrations of natural gas in the buildings and helped ventilate them.

March 2: Firefighters responded to a call around 9:20 a.m. on the 11700 block of East 18th Avenue. When fire crews arrived the homeowner let them into the house where they observed scorching on an outlet and living room wall, with one prong from a vacuum cleaner stuck in the outlet. Crews placed electrical tape over the outlet and installed six smoke detectors.

March 3: Firefighters responded to an unauthorized burning call at 8:25 p.m. on the 5100 block of North Karen Road. A caller reported their neighbor had started an outdoor fire. Crews observed the homeowner burning twigs and rough cut lumber and informed them burning those items is not permitted. The homeowner apologized and extinguished the fire.

March 4: A 60-year-old man riding a motorcycle around 4:10 p.m. collided with the back of a semitrailer on the 3400 block of North Pines Road. When crews arrived, they observed the man lying on the ground wearing leather riding attire and a helmet. Witnesses said the motorcyclist appeared to be going 80 mph on Trent Avenue. The semitrailer driver left the scene and when crews later tracked the driver down, they were unaware the motorcycle hit the back of the truck. The motorcyclist admitted to alcohol use and the Washington State Patrol arrested the man on suspicion of DUI pending medical treatment. Fire crews treated him for severe hip pain and transported him to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

By the numbers: During the week of Feb. 26 to March 4, the Spokane Valley Fire Department responded to 325 calls, including 14 fire calls, 17 alarm system response calls, 265 emergency medical service calls, one extrication call, two water rescue calls, five hazmat investigation calls, 15 motor vehicle accidents and six service calls.

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