Early Morning Fire Causes Serious Damages to Garages and Contents

Justin de Ruyter, Spokane Fire PIO, jderuyter@spokanecity.org

Tuesday, January 9, 2024 at 11:32 a.m.

At 3:16 a.m. this morning, the Spokane Fire Department received a dispatch to the garages behind the Trestle Creek Apartments at 5015 South Regal St. During the response, additional information surfaced, indicating fire and explosions in one of the larger units, with someone attempting to use a portable fire extinguisher on the fire.

Engine 14 and Quint 11 arrived at the scene by 3:24 a.m. They confirmed heavy fire through the roof of one garage, posing a threat to adjacent units under the same roof. Engine 14's team deployed a hoseline to the central unit on fire, while Quint 11's firefighters forced entry into the two neighboring units. They discovered the fire had extended into one additional unit, primarily in the attic and ceiling. Other firefighters from the Spokane Fire Department, with assistance from Spokane Valley Fire Department Engine 6, supported by securing a water supply and deploying additional fire attack hoselines.

Although the main body of fire was quickly knocked down, firefighters took extra precautions, extinguishing the remaining hot spots since the roof collapsed during the initial fire attack stages of the incident. The Special Investigations Unit investigated but couldn't determine the exact cause due to extensive interior damage. The affected units, serving as storage for a local contractor, resulted in the loss of two large work vans and multiple tools.

Damage and loss estimates total $500,000, with the remaining building and contents valued the same, saved by firefighters. Fortunately, no injuries were reported among the public or first responders. Avista Utilities responded and ensured the scene was safe from active utilities.

Firefighters were fortunate that the building was at least 30 feet from occupied apartments, and winds, though gusty, favored their efforts. The fire, deep-seated and unnoticed for some time, was contained to the two units.

Spokane Fire reminds residents that while portable fire extinguishers are effective for small fires, they should be used only on those contained to the original object or its immediate area. Once flames spread across the ceiling, extinguishers become less effective. The fire department should also be summoned whenever a fire extinguisher is used to ensure complete extinguishment and proper documentation and reporting.

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