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Friday, February 21, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Three-structure fire in West Central likely caused by squatters, neighbors say

UPDATED: Fri., July 19, 2019

Fire crews battled a three-structure fire Friday morning in West Central that neighbors say likely started from frequently seen squatters.

The Spokane Fire Department is investigating the cause of the fire that started in a detached shed behind a house at 2323 W. Mallon Ave. at about 10:30 a.m. The shed was burned to the ground. No one was reported injured, said Spokane Fire Department Chief Brian Schaeffer.

The fire spread to a tree, the house and another shed owned by Fredrick Pitman, who sees squatters living in and around the area frequently, he said.

“They come. They build. They leave drug paraphernalia all over the alley,” Pitman said. “The alley is like a thoroughfare.”

Pitman said he’s lived in his house for about a year, and estimated he’s had to confront homeless people in the backyard of his house and his neighbors about 10 times.

Pitman’s neighbor, whose house burned, is not home often, Pitman said, and he wasn’t home during Friday’s fire.

The flames burned power lines above the sheds, causing electrical discharges, he said.

Pitman estimated about $25,000 in damage to his property.

“The garage is going to have to be completely rebuilt,” he said.

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