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

‘A major loss’: Police building in Coeur d’Alene catches fire, destroying useful law enforcement equipment

Crews battle a fire Sunday at a Couer d’Alene Police Department building, which stores expensive, high-end equipment for the department.  (Courtesy of Couer d'Alene Fire Department)

The Coeur d’Alene Police Department will have to find a way to make-do after a three-hour fire left their equipment storage building “a total loss.”

The fire, which started around 5 a.m. Sunday, destroyed the auxiliary building located near Kathleen Avenue and Ramsey Road. It’s where police, code enforcement and animal control have offices, said Coeur d’Alene Fire Department’s Deputy Fire Marshal Craig Etherton.

Law enforcement groups like SWAT also store large vehicles there, such as a tactical armored military-grade vehicle known as a BearCat.

The department’s BearCat cost $169,725 in 2019, according to a social media post from Lenco, the BearCat’s manufacturer.

Among the losses are 16 “four-wheeled” vehicles – not counting motorcycles for patrol – and a large command trailer the department uses for “complex” incidents, Etherton said.

The secondary building was built with funds from a 2015 bond for storage of the extra vehicles. There’s no estimate on the cost of damages yet, but it’s a “high dollar loss,” he said.

“This is a major loss to the police department and the city in general. There’s a lot of expensive equipment we do our best to take care of,” Etherton said. “Obviously now, it’s not going to be available for a while.”

Around 20 to 30 crew members from the fire department and Kootenai County Fire and Rescue were on scene Sunday. The Idaho State Fire Marshall’s Office is investigating the cause.