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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane Valley Fire roundup: Empty sleeping bag found in river after water rescue responds to report

The Spokane Valley Fire Department Administration Building is shown.  (The Spokesman-Review)
The Spokane Valley Fire Department Administration Building is shown. (The Spokesman-Review)
By Nina Culver For The Spokesman-Review

The Spokane Valley Fire Department’s swift water rescue team is generally busy in the spring and summer months when people recreate on the Spokane River, but they are prepared to respond to calls year-round.

They responded to a call on Nov. 16 that reported a person in the river, but an extensive search turned up only a sleeping bag.

A person driving on Interstate 90 called 911 at 12:20 p.m. to report seeing what looked like a person in the river near Stateline, prompting a response from the water rescue team. Crews driving on the Centennial Trail near Harvard Road found a jogger who did not report seeing anyone in the water. A Spokane County sheriff’s deputy launched a drone to search the river.

Crews in kayaks searched the river between Stateline and Harvard Road. No person was found.

Other calls, Nov. 15-21

Nov. 15: A Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railway employee called at 7:35 a.m. to report that a train engine was on fire in the area of North Barker Road and East Trent Avenue. The fire was put out and BNSF mechanics arrived to tend to the engine. A school bus driver reported a possible house fire on East Eighth Avenue near South Pines Road at 8:43 a.m. The homeowner was burning fresh yard debris in a wood stove, which generated a lot of smoke. The house was not on fire. A resident of the 12400 block of East Mansfield Avenue called at 7:33 p.m. to report that he was locked out of his house because he had accidentally locked his keys inside his car. A crew helped unlock the car so he could get inside, out of the cold weather. Residents in a home in the 11800 block of East Trent Avenue were awakened by a beeping carbon monoxide alarm and called 911 at 11:33 p.m. The residents shut off the furnace and opened windows while waiting for crews to arrive. Detectors found levels of CO between 20 to 24 ppm with the levels dropping. When the furnace was turned on again, the CO levels rose. The residents were advised to have the furnace serviced.

Nov. 16: A fire alarm sounded at a school in the 8300 block of East Buckeye Avenue at 12:10 p.m. Students evacuated the building, and there was a report of smoke in a bathroom. No fire was found.

Nov. 17: A resident in the 300 block of North Bannen Road reported hitting a gas meter with a golf cart and then hearing hissing at 2:05 p.m. The gas meter was broken and leaking natural gas. Avista Utilities was called, and the gas was shut off.

Nov. 18: Power line arcing and a fire were reported on a power pole in the 3600 block of South Progress Road at 2:10 p.m. There was no fire when crews arrived, but there was visible charring. The power company was called.

Nov. 19: A smoke alarm summoned crews to an apartment complex in the 12500 block of East Third Avenue at 8 a.m. The apartment resident reported that a plastic cutting board had fallen onto a stove burner and there was no fire. A fire was reported in a trash can outside a home in the 9400 block of East Broadway Avenue at 10:35 a.m. A resident told crews he had taken apart an old lithium battery and when it started to smoke, he threw it in a trash can and used a dry chemical extinguisher to put it out.

Nov. 20: A fire alarm sounded in the 15100 block of East Euclid Avenue at 2:18 p.m. It was reported there was no fire, only a “microwave burrito incident.”

By the numbers: Crews responded to 410 calls the week of Nov. 15-21, including 358 calls for emergency medical services. Additional responses included 15 car crashes, a car that jumped the curb and hit a rack full of bottles of propane and a 2-year-old accidentally locked inside a car.


Correspondent Nina Culver can be reached at

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