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Wednesday, August 12, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Firefighters respond to fire near closed Shopko on South Hill

UPDATED: Fri., July 31, 2020

A wildfire moving rapidly through a field and on the verge of causing major damage to a South Hill apartment was halted Friday afternoon by firefighters – and possibly an exploding hose.

Crews were called to a field just south of the former Shopko, 4515 S. Regal St., about 1:30 p.m.

Firefighters from Spokane County Fire District 8 arrived on scene first to the east of the blaze, but they couldn’t gain quick access to the fire because their path – along a closed portion of the rerouted Palouse Highway – was blocked by boulders, said Fire Capt. Jim Schaffer, of Spokane Fire Department’s Station No. 11.

Spokane firefighters accessed the fire first from the west.

But the wind turned quickly.

The fire damaged siding on a building at the Clare View North apartment complex, 3202 E. 44th Ave., and nearly overtook a firetruck, melting lights and welding a compartment on the truck shut.

“I had a vision of a big, black truck in my head,” Schaffer said. “I yelled for evacuation because I thought we would lose the building.”

The fire started in brush, but jumped into trees, which burned quickly and sparked embers.

Schaffer said heat caused a fire hose to explode, creating a fan of water that helped quell the flames. Crews were able to hold the fire to 3 acres. No injuries were reported.

Besides the Spokane Fire Department and District 8, Department of Natural Resources crews also helped on the scene.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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