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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane Valley Fire roundup: Windstorm leaves devastation

Larry Wendel shows how a pine tree crashed into his neighbor Bill Oliver’s house during the windstorm, Jan. 13, in Spokane Valley.  (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Larry Wendel shows how a pine tree crashed into his neighbor Bill Oliver’s house during the windstorm, Jan. 13, in Spokane Valley. (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
By Nina Culver For The Spokesman-Review

Like other fire departments in the area, Spokane Valley Fire Department crews were kept hopping on Jan. 13 as the wind toppled trees into power lines and onto homes and cars, prompting numerous 911 calls.

The wind became severe in the early morning hours, with the first call coming in at 3:58 a.m. in the 5000 block of North Chase Road. A large tree fell in the front yard of a home, taking power lines down with it. Several trees fell on a house in the 2200 block of South University Road at 6:17 a.m. The resident reported being in bed when the trees fell on top of his bedroom, but he was able to escape unharmed.

Dozens of other calls followed, including a tree blocking the southbound lane of Pines Road at 26th Avenue at 8:12 a.m. and a tree hitting power lines in the 1300 block of South Bowdish Road at 9:57 a.m. Several of the calls involved trees that began smoldering after snapping power lines. One falling tree crushed three unoccupied cars in a parking lot in the 8000 block of East Cataldo Avenue at 3:22 p.m.

Other calls, Jan. 11-17

Jan. 11: An unusual smell prompted a hazardous materials call in the 7800 block of East Indiana Avenue at 9:21 p.m. The smell was caused by a piece of plastic that fell onto the dishwasher heating element.

Jan. 12: Crews were called to a semi-truck that had driven into a power line in a parking lot in the 12300 block of East Boone Avenue at 9:55 a.m. The line was stuck between the cab and the trailer, and the driver was trapped inside. Modern Electric was called to respond.

Jan. 13: A power outage left someone stranded in an elevator in a building in the 1100 block of South Raymond Road at 7:25 a.m. A maintenance worker was able to open the doors and free the rider. A resident reported carbon monoxide detectors were sounding in her basement in the 1800 block of South Lake Road at 11:51 a.m. Crews found levels of 12 parts per million and falling. When the furnace and hot water heater were restarted, the levels began to climb again. Avista Utilities was called. A fire was reported at Central Valley High School at 1:44 p.m., and smoke was seen coming from the woodshop area. The fire inside a hopper was put out quickly, and damage was limited. A sprinkler system activated during the fire. The department’s Rescue Task Force was activated for a high-risk warrant call with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office in the area of Appleway Boulevard and Park Road at 4:34 p.m. The task force was not needed. Smoke was reported in a home in the 5500 block of North Drury Road at 4:55 p.m. The homeowner said there had been several power surges, and firefighters found smoke coming from a basement light fixture. The power to the basement was turned off and the homeowner was advised to call an electrician. A caller reported an illegal fire at Sprague Avenue and University Road in front of Fred’s Appliance at 10:02 p.m. Crews found a man burning some books. The fire was put out while the man was questioned by police.

Jan. 14: A homeowner reported a sounding carbon monoxide alarm in a home in the 12000 block of East 25th Avenue just a few minutes after midnight. Power was out in the area. Crews recorded levels of 14 parts per million. The homeowner was running a gasoline-powered generator on his back deck, and the wind was pushing the exhaust inside the home. A small 4-by-4-foot shed was reported on fire in the 9700 block of East Maringo Drive at 4:01 a.m. A bystander was using a garden hose on the flames when crews arrived, and the shed was fully on fire. The small building was a chicken coop. Residents of a home in the 12400 block of East 26th Avenue reported that their CO monitors were sounding at 5:56 p.m. Their power was out and they had been using a generator placed inside the garage. Equipment detected levels between 35 and 65 parts per million inside the home, which was ventilated to clear the gas.

Jan. 16: A report of sounding carbon monoxide alarms in the 11200 block of East 19th Avenue was received at 3:18 p.m. The power was out, and the homeowners were using a generator, which was placed on the covered front porch next to the front door with the exhaust pointed at the house. Levels of 50 parts per million were detected inside the home. The generator was repositioned and the home ventilated.

Jan. 17: A house fire was reported 6:02 p.m. at 4503 E. Second Ave. The homeowners saw flames coming from the roof of the house next to the stove pipe when they returned home. The fire was contained to the area around the wood stove. The homeowner said the stove pipe connections had been damaged in the recent wind storm.

By the numbers: Crews responded to 427 calls the week of Jan. 11-17, including 311 calls for emergency medical services. Other responses included 13 car crashes, a drone charging on the counter that caught fire, a woman who got stuck in her fully reclined power recliner when the power went off, a person that needed an IV taken out after they were discharged from the hospital and sent home with it still in their arm, and two children accidentally locked inside vehicles.

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