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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Car fire that spread to pawn shop on North Monroe ruled accidental

UPDATED: Fri., June 25, 2021

A car caught fire in the parking lot of Pawn 1 Wednesday on North Monroe Street in Spokane.  (Courtesy of the Spokane Fire Department)
A car caught fire in the parking lot of Pawn 1 Wednesday on North Monroe Street in Spokane. (Courtesy of the Spokane Fire Department)

A car fire that ignited a nearby store Wednesday night was determined to be accidental, according to local firefighters.

Firefighters responded to reports of a car fire about 9:15 p.m. in the Pawn 1 parking lot at 3220 N. Monroe St. While they were en route, a communication specialist realized the car was so close to the building the fire was likely to spread and called in seven more fire companies, according to a news release form the Spokane Fire Department.

Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said the cause was ruled to be an accidental engine malfunction, which he said is an extremely rare event.

“The car was completely consumed,” Schaeffer said.

The driver had pulled into the parking lot of Zip’s Drive-in when they noticed their car acting strangely, Schaeffer said.

They moved next to the Pawn 1 building. The moment the driver put the car in park, they noticed smoke and flames coming from under the car. The driver got out of the car before the fire worsened.

When the first firefighters arrived 8 minutes later, the car was engulfed in flames and the fire had spread to the Pawn 1 building, the fire department said.

The gasoline-fed car fire was quickly extinguished before crews turned to the building.

They exposed the mansard roof to access the fire and forced entry into the building to make sure it was unoccupied.

The 34 firefighters on scene were able to control the fire within 25 minutes, the fire department said. No one was injured and Schaeffer said the building suffered mostly external damage.

“It was a lot of work, and it was a very secure building,” he said.

The department is still determining whether the engine failure was electrical or mechanical, Schaeffer said.

Spokesman-Review reporter Sydney Brown contributed to this story.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the address of Pawn 1. 

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