After Saturday’s buzzer-beater shot to send Gonzaga to the national championship game, neighborhoods around Spokane erupted into cheers. But a few hours later, the celebrations took a rowdy turn.
Between four and six couches were burned near the university Sunday night, said Brian Schaeffer, Spokane fire chief. The incidents come after a post-victory couch-burning earlier in the week that university president Thayne McCulloh called “completely unacceptable.”
“It’s disappointing and unfortunate,” Schaeffer said.
The fire department, along with law enforcement and Gonzaga University Campus Security, had a plan to patrol the area and ensure celebrations remained peaceful, according to a police department news release.
“Fortunately we had a plan that we exercised,” Schaeffer said. “It worked out successfully, and no one was hurt last night.”
There were no arrests in the Gonzaga area, said Sgt. Mike Huffman. Spokane Police Officers arrested five people for driving under the influence, Huffman said.
That number is a little higher than a typical weekend night, Huffman said. It does not include arrests made by the Washington State Patrol or Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
Setting furniture on fire is dangerous not only because the fire can spread to nearby residences, but because the smoke is often toxic, Schaeffer said.
“The fire will consume all the fuel, but the problem with a lot of the furniture is that it’s so synthetic that the smoke it makes is toxic,” Schaeffer said.
The synthetics also make the fire hard to control, Schaeffer said.
Gonzaga security helped put out some of the fires that were set in backyards and driveways, Schaffer said.
With the national championship game on Monday night, Schaeffer said the fire department plans to use what they learned on Saturday to keep things under control.
“We’ll probably be even better prepared than we were last night,” Schaeffer said.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.