Residents in Spokane Valley have been slow to respond to the declaration of a burn ban that makes it illegal to have backyard fires, though barbecues and patio warmers are still allowed.
The Spokane Valley Fire Department responded to numerous calls this week about people having recreational fires or burning trash and/or yard debris, which is illegal year-round.
In an unusual call, a possible illegal fire was reported in the 7500 block of East Trent Avenue at 8:03 p.m. on June 8. The crew found a female transient crouched over a fire on the sidewalk. When she was told she couldn’t have a fire, she responded that she was “burning the spiders out of her gloves,” said department spokesman Capt. Scott Crawford.
Deputies were called, but one was not available to respond. The woman declined to give her name.
A homeowner in the 14200 block of South Garry Road had two illegal fires going the evening of June 8, which prompted a 911 call at 9:07 p.m. One was a yard waste fire, which is always illegal, and the other was firewood in an open fire pit. The homeowner said he had no idea there was a burn ban in place and put out both fires when asked .
A bonfire was reported at Camp Caro in the 600 block of South Sargent Road at 11:40 p.m. on Friday. Crews could not locate the deputies who called in the fire and hiked up the trail about half a mile. There they found the fire, the deputies, and a large crowd of teenagers who had apparently been having a party. The fire had been put out before they arrived.
An illegal fire was reported in the 7700 block of East Liberty Avenue at 3:07 p.m. on June 13. The residents had a fire in a large fire pit that had spread to the surrounding grass. The residents were told about the burn ban.
Other calls June 7-13
June 7: A possible illegal fire was reported in the 7800 block of North Nora Street at 5:37 p.m. The resident was using a barbecue, which is allowed during a burn ban. A backyard fire was reported in the 4300 block of East Seventh Avenue at 5:49 p.m. The homeowner was advised of the burn ban and put the fire out.
June 8: A fire was reported in the Mobil gas station on Trent near Fancher Way at 1:17 p.m. The manager reported the lights flickered, and she smelled an electrical burning odor. Smoke was seen coming from a lawn sprinkler system control box. The breakers were turned off. A vehicle crash involving a vehicle fleeing from police was reported in the 2300 block of South Pines Road at 4:10 p.m.
June 10: An illegal fire was reported in the 6900 block of East Sprague at 4:56 a.m. A homeless person had a campfire and put it out while apologizing. Another illegal fire was reported in the 9200 block of East Sprague Avenue at 11:36 a.m. A person was burning a shirt in a fire ring in an empty lot. The fire was put out. An illegal fire was reported in the 3200 block of North Marguerite Road at 6:52 p.m. The crew discovered burning trash in the street and put it out. A deputy was speaking with the person thought to have started the fire.
June 11: A white SUV was reported to have hit a power pole, causing the lines the dangle in the street, in the area of North Herald and Sprague Avenue at 1:09 a.m. Police and a Modern Electric crew responded. Smoke was reported near the Centennial Trail behind the Krispy Kreme at 8:50 a.m. A person admitted starting a fire in a trash can to get warm, singing his hair and eyebrows in the process. The man was advised not to set any more fires. A fire was reported in the 300 block of South Pines Road at 11:53 p.m. Crews found a burning rubber floor mat in front of a glass door to a business. The fire was put out and the crew broke the door to check to see if the flames had spread inside. A pickup truck fire was reported in the area of Laberry Drive and Bloom Circle at 11:55 p.m. The truck’s owner was trying to put the fire out with a garden hose. He reported he had recently purchased the vehicle and had driven it eight hours before with no issues.
June 12: A fire was reported in the 3000 block of South University Road at 7:56 p.m. The homeowner had a fire in his fire pit and said he did not know there was a burn ban in place this early in the year. He put the fire out.
June 13: A carbon monoxide alarm was sounding in the boiler room of a hotel in the 16400 block of East Indiana Avenue at 4:08 a.m. A gas monitor showed levels of 91 parts per million. A malfunctioning boiler was shut down, and the CO was confined to the boiler room before dissipating. A vehicle fire was reported in the 20300 block of East First Avenue. The car was fully on fire when crews arrived and determined it started in the engine compartment. An illegal fire was reported in the 400 block of North Evergreen Road at 9:32 p.m. The residents were burning dry wood in an approved fire pit, but the fire was still illegal under the current burn ban. They put the fire out.
By the numbers: Crews responded to 419 calls the week of June 7-13, including 335 calls for emergency medical services. Other responses included 26 car crashes, 22 fires, a homeowner who needed help shutting off his water to stop flooding from a leak, a fire alarm set off by a smoker and a fire alarm set off by cooking bacon.
Nina Culver can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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 now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.