False fire alarms and reports of fires that could not be found during what was largely a smoky, hazy week kept Spokane Valley Fire Department crews busy the week of Sept. 14-20.
The biggest event of the week was a fully involved car fire at the Flying J truck stop in the 6600 block of North Broadway Avenue. The fire was called in by an employee at 4:36 p.m. on Sept. 16. Crews were able to put the fire out quickly.
The car’s owner told firefighters he had gotten off the freeway to get some soup at the truck stop, said fire department spokeswoman Julie Happy. He said his car appeared to be running fine until flames started coming out from beneath the hood. The driver was not injured.
There are still reports coming in about illegal backyard fires. The county’s burn ban remains in effect.
Other calls from Sept. 14-20
Sept. 14: A fire alarm activated at the Children’s Home Society at 7:25 a.m. Crews found the furnace running and the smell of burnt dust in a few offices. No fire was found.
Sept. 15: A water flow alarm sounded at the former Toys “R” Us store in the 15500 block of East Broadway Avenue at 4:13 a.m. Crews entered the store, which is under construction, but no water was found. Another false sounded three days later. Smoke was reported in the basement of a home in the 8500 block of East Mansfield Avenue at 3:48 p.m. Firefighters found a smoldering rag and cigarettes on top of a dryer. A hot electrical panel was reported at the Rock Bar at 13921 E. Trent Ave. at 4:58 p.m. Equipment showed the panel was 230 degrees. The main breaker was scorched. An Avista crew responded and said the breaker was about 40 years old. A sounding carbon monoxide detector was reported in a home in the area of McMillan and Harmony lanes. Instruments detected a level of 40 ppm in the home. Avista traced the cause to a bad water heater.
Sept. 16: A transient with a small warming fire was spotted near Camp Caro in the 600 block of South Sargent Road at 8:23 a.m. He left the area while the fire was put out.
Sept. 17: An alarm sounded in the old Toys “R” Us store in the 15500 block of East Broadway at 4:43 a.m. The alarm was false. Crews were told that the system had a faulty part that was scheduled to be fixed the next day. A possible illegal fire was reported in the backyard of a home in the 1400 block of North Farr Road at 8:40 p.m. Crews found a small gas heater, which is a permitted device during the current burn ban.
Sept. 18: A possible illegal fire was reported in a backyard in the 13100 block of East Cataldo at 5:47 p.m. Crews found a small illegal fire in a fire bowl. The fire was put out. Another possible illegal fire was reported in the 4000 block of North Farr Road at 7:08 p.m. The homeowner said he wasn’t aware of the ban.
Sept. 19: Bystanders called 911 at 1:51 p.m. to report a group of seven balloons wrapped around a high energy power line, which was causing arcing, in the area of Fourth Avenue and Herald Road. Crews did not see arcing, but could hear a loud buzzing noise. A Modern Electric crew arrived and one used a blowtorch duct taped to the end of a pole to burn away the strings, allowing the balloons to float away. Crews were called to help people who became trapped behind a gate disabled in a power outage at a self-storage facility in the 200 block of South Eastern Road at 8:48 p.m. A firefighter was able to push the gate open.
Sept. 20: A possible illegal fire was reported behind Building D in an apartment complex in the 3700 block of South Highway 27. Crews found two people burning wood piles on a natural gas fire table. The fire was put out.
By the numbers: Firefighters responded to 344 calls the week of Sept. 14-20, including 280 calls for emergency medical services. Other calls included eight car crashes, a 4-month-old infant accidentally locked inside a vehicle, a fire alarm triggered by sanding drywall and a power line snagged by a large truck.
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