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Tuesday, September 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Fire roundup: Large shed engulfed in flames

A home at First Avenue naer Pines Road was damaged July 29, 2020, after a dryer fire that spread into the walls, according to the Spokane Valley Fire Department. (Spokane Valley Fire Department/Facebook)
A home at First Avenue naer Pines Road was damaged July 29, 2020, after a dryer fire that spread into the walls, according to the Spokane Valley Fire Department. (Spokane Valley Fire Department/Facebook)
By Nina Culver For The Spokesman-Review

A couple of larger fires kept Spokane Valley Fire Department crews busy the week of July 27 to Aug. 2, with a few brush fires making their appearance as the weather turned hot and dry.

A detached shop was reported on fire at 10:30 p.m. on July 28 in the 11100 block of East Empire Avenue. Firefighters found a large shed, located between two homes, fully aflame when they arrived. A long, narrow driveway forced crews to run a fire hose down the driveway to limit truck traffic in the confined space, said department spokeswoman Julie Happy.

The fire spread to a second shop, but the homes and several cars and an RV were saved from the flames. The homeowner said he was alerted to the fire by a loud smoke detector in the shop, which he was able to hear from his home.

The cause of the fire was traced to an automotive battery charging setup, Happy said. The fire spread quickly in other materials stored in the shop. It has been ruled an accidental fire.

Residents of a home on First Avenue just off Pines Road called 911 around 3 p.m. July 29 to report their dryer was on fire. The fire had extended to the walls by the time firefighters arrived. The fire was put out quickly, but the home was damaged. All the residents were able to get out safely, but a pet bird died in the fire.

Other calls: July 27 to Aug. 2

July 27: A brush fire was reported in the 4700 block of East Fourth Avenue at 9:51 a.m. The flames were put out by neighbors before crews arrived. They said it was caused by a blown transformer. Witnesses reported that a car hit several vehicles in a parking lot in the area of Dale Road and Argonne Road at 12:54 p.m. The driver was believed to be having a medical issue. A brush fire was reported next to Interstate 90 near Barker Road at 2:41 p.m. A nearby resident used a hose to keep the fire at bay until crews arrived and finished putting it out. The man told crews that he was cutting fence posts with a grinder and a spark from the grinder started the fire. A possible exploded soda machine carbon dioxide canister at the Jack in the Box restaurant at Broadway and Sullivan prompted a call at 7:45 p.m. Crews found a burst hose and a lot of frost on various plumbing components. A power pole fire was reported in the area of Fancher Way and Dickey Road at 10:07 p.m.

July 28: A fire was reported in the 2100 block of North Houk Road at 12:38 p.m. A woman at that address said she was burning incense in a small bowl in a ritual designed to cure a sick rabbit. A burning motorcycle prompted a 911 call at 6:50 p.m. in the area of Willow Road and East Main Avenue. The motorcycle was in a driveway and the flames had been put out with a garden hose before crews arrived.

July 29: A grass fire was reported in the area of Wellesley Avenue and Arden Road at 12:09 p.m. Neighbors told firefighters they heard a popping noise and saw flames at the base of a power pole. They used hoses to put most of the fire out before crews arrived. Crews responded to a vehicle fire at Appleway Avenue and Corbin Road at 9:32 p.m. The car had its hood up and flames showing when crews arrived and was blocking the outside eastbound lane. The driver reported recently having electrical work done on the car. The fire was put out, and the car was pushed off the road.

July 30: A car fire began to spread into a field in the area of Woodlawn Road and Pines Road at 4:35 p.m. Witnesses tried to use garden hoses to put out the fire, which was spreading toward homes and vehicles. One woman suffered a burn on her hand and was treated on scene. A vehicle fire was reported on Interstate 90 near the Liberty Lake on-ramp at 6:07 p.m. Crews discovered a man trying to put out the fire with a dry chemical extinguisher, but he was unsuccessful. The flames spread from the engine compartment to the driver’s compartment before crews put the fire out. The driver said his car lurched and lost power, so he pulled over. Then the car caught fire.

July 31: A brush fire was reported between Center and Vista Road by railroad tracks at 3:04 p.m. When crews arrived they found that a neighbor, a retired city of Spokane firefighter, had put the fire out with a garden hose. Crews responded to an alarming carbon monoxide detector in the 13200 block of East 31st Court at 9:14 p.m. They found very high levels of carbon monoxide in the apartment and shut down the natural gas. Avista was called.

Aug. 1: A brush fire was reported near Appleway Avenue and Talon Lane at 9:17 a.m. Neighbors reported that it was started by a blown transformer. Another brush fire was reported at 2:50 p.m. near the Centennial Trail near Eden. Crews were assisted by the Department of Natural Resources, which is investigating the cause of the fire. An arson fire was reported in the 16000 block of East Sprague Avenue at 4:01 p.m. Witnesses said they saw a man light a fire in some garbage. The man was arrested by sheriff’s deputies.

Aug. 2: Neighbors used garden hoses to put out a fire along the railroad tracks at Frederick Avenue and Bowdish Road at 9:23 p.m. The flames were mostly out when crews arrived. A fire was reported in the Dishman Hills Natural Area near Camp Caro at 10:52 p.m. Firefighters discovered a 100-foot by 100-foot fire in grass and downed trees. The Department of Natural Resources assisted.

By the numbers: Firefighters responded to 392 calls the week of July 27 to Aug. 2, including 303 calls for emergency medical services. The calls included 32 fires, 26 car crashes, a call to help sheriff’s deputies who accidentally got locked inside a vacant building while doing K-9 training, a man who hurt himself in a bicycle crash after drinking, and a baby accidentally locked inside a vehicle that was damaged by bystanders who attempted to break inside.

Nina Culver can be reached at

A home on First Avenue near Pines Road was damaged July 29 when a dryer caught on fire that spread into the walls, according to a Spokane Valley Fire Department post on Facebook.

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