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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Cause of fire at West Plains transportation company may never be determined

Jan. 28, 2021 Updated Thu., Jan. 28, 2021 at 7:54 p.m.

Kipp Silver, left, and Weston Boardman, of Able Clean-up Technologies Inc., place pads and booms to soak up and stop motor oil from spreading at the site of a fire at a building holding commercial vehicles Tuesday morning at Victory Transportation on West Thorpe Road.  (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Kipp Silver, left, and Weston Boardman, of Able Clean-up Technologies Inc., place pads and booms to soak up and stop motor oil from spreading at the site of a fire at a building holding commercial vehicles Tuesday morning at Victory Transportation on West Thorpe Road. (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Fire investigators were unable to determine the cause of a blaze earlier this month that destroyed a maintenance shop and damaged several semi-trucks at Victory Transportation in Spokane’s West Plains, said Spokane County District 10 Fire Chief Ken Johnson.

Crews responded to the fire at 6207 W. Thorpe Road for several hours Jan. 11. Johnson said the shop contained a semi-truck, while at least 500 gallons or more of diesel fuel and used oil product spilled from ruptured containers into dry wells within the property line. Nobody was injured.

While firefighters limited water usage to prevent further spread of the oil products, Johnson said a side effect was the greater loss of potential evidence that could have helped determine a cause.

Nevertheless, Johnson said nothing pointed to suspicious activity.

“The oil that was leaking out was more of a priority to us, so we reduced our water usage to prevent more damage in the neighborhood,” he said.

The petroleum and water runoff went roughly 100 to 200 feet, draining out into dry wells approximately 25 feet from the property line. An on-scene hazmat crew helped absorb some of the runoff as the fire burned, while cleanup crews were called in afterward.

“Unless there’s new evidence that’s brought forward, it’s going to be one of those that’s unknown,” Johnson said. “It’s not something that’s closed, but it’s something that we can’t really move anywhere with without additional information.”

Victory Transportation utilizes over 50 vehicles to offer various freight shipping services, according to the company website. Johnson said officials estimated more than $1 million in damage as a result of the fire.

Igor Chernetskiy, an owner of the company, did not return a call for comment.

Meanwhile, Johnson said Fire District 10 had to put an oil-saturated fire hose and a set of turnout gear out of service, amounting in $2,500 to $3,000 of equipment loss.

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