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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

House fire displaces Spokane Valley residents, cause believed to be spontaneous combustion

A garage fire extended into a Spokane Valley home early Tuesday morning, displacing five residents.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department was called to the fire shortly after 5:30 a.m. on the 11500 block of East Frederick Avenue, according to a Spokane Valley Fire news release.

By the time firefighters arrived, the garage was heavily involved in fire and the blaze spread into the attic of the house, firefighters said. The fire was at risk of extending into the neighbor’s home, so the neighbors evacuated and a hose line was put in place to protect the structure.

The American Red Cross assisted four adults and one child who were displaced by the fire. No injuries were reported.

Fire investigators determined the fire started in the southwest corner of the garage, the release said. They discovered two potential ignition sources in that area – an electrical outlet and rags used to apply an oil-based stain to wood the night before.

The electrical outlet and associated wiring were examined and did not appear to have been involved in the ignition of the fire, firefighters said. However, further evaluation may provide additional information.

In all likelihood, the oily rags, which were set on a combustible surface, went through a spontaneous combustion reaction.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department recommends any material used to apply oil-based stains always be placed in a non-combustible container for storage and urges people to read the labels.

Spokane County Fire District 9, the Spokane Fire Department and American Medical Response also responded to the fire. Avista Utilities disconnected power from the home and handled a power line that fell into the backyard.