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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane Valley Fire roundup: Illegal burning keeps crews hopping

Illegal fires continue to be a problem in the area the Spokane Valley Fire Department serves, with people setting fire to a variety of materials including construction waste, trash and a recliner in recent days. Most people who receive a visit from fire crews agree to put the fires out with little fuss, with the exception of a man last week.

Crews responded to the 900 block of North Bowman Road after someone called in a large fire in the backyard of a house at 8:21 a.m. on May 4. There was a fire in a makeshift burn barrel between two trailer homes, and crews reported there was yard debris, building materials and piles of trash everywhere, with some stacked up against the trailers, said department spokesman Julie Happy. They also discovered several partially burned foam mattresses.

The man at the scene, who was armed with a large knife, refused to give his name and became “irritated” when he was told to put out the fire. He left the area before firefighters were finished speaking with him.

Other calls from May 4-10

May 4: A neighbor called in to report an illegal fire in the area of Heroy Lane and Longfellow Avenue just after 4:30 p.m. Crews found a large pile of burning yard waste and building materials with flames 6 feet high. The homeowner agreed to put out the fire.

May 5: A three-car collision was reported on the eastbound Interstate 90 exit 287 off ramp shortly after 2:30 p.m. No one was injured.

May 6: Smoke was reported coming from a drainage pipe in the area of Country Vista Drive and Settler Drive just before 5 p.m. Crews discovered that a homeless person had lit a warming fire in the concrete culvert that ran under the roadway. A car crashed into a power pole at Pines Road and 12th Avenue just before 5 p.m. with such force that one tire was nearly torn off. Pines was closed for a short time. Someone called to report seeing smoke in the area of Trent Avenue and Harvard Road at 6:37 p.m. The crew discovered a homeowner burning yard debris, pallets and trash. The fire was put out.

May 8: A sprinkler on the balcony of a third-floor apartment activated just before 5 p.m. The residents of the apartment said they had been barbecuing steaks when the sprinkler activated. Crews turned off the sprinkler system and then reactivated it.

May 9: A sheriff’s deputy reported a dumpster fire in the 2700 block of North Pines Road around 12:30 a.m. A few burning coals were found. Light smoke was reported coming from the attic vent of a home in the area of Coleman Road and Girard Road just before 10 a.m. The homeowner told firefighters that he had been chasing bees with a blowtorch in the area where the fire began. Damage was minor. A structure fire was reported in the 2700 block of North Ella Road at 1:07 p.m. When crews arrived they found a large fire in a burn pit close to a house and a shed. The homeowner admitted burning dimensional lumber, but crews also spotted a partially burned recliner and bookshelves that were apparently intended for the fire. The homeowner was told about burning regulations and told to put out the fire.

May 10: A campfire was reported in the Dishman Hills Natural Area just before 8:30 p.m. Crews hiked in about a mile and a half before finding a smoldering camp fire that had been only partly extinguished. They put the fire out.

By the numbers: Crews responded to 306 calls the week of May 4-10, including 240 calls for emergency medical services. Other responses included 16 car crashes, a steam coming from a wooden fence that was mistaken for smoke and a woman who called 911 after a sneezing fit because she thought there might be a leak of something (nothing was found).

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