Fire crews took 10 minutes to arrive at Spokane Valley house fire



Posted on October 21, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 23 at 7:01 AM

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash.--Some witnesses to a Spokane Valley house fire over the weekend told KREM 2 News they felt firefighters arrived too late.

No one was hurt in the fire near Best and Forker. KREM 2 News looked into what the standard response times are and why this case was different. 

“We were just coming around the corner and my neighbor's house was engulfed in flames,” said neighbor, Dana Krupa.

Krupa called 911 Sunday afternoon.

“I was concerned that our house was going to go up also. Just very concerning that the Fire Department didn't respond quicker,” said Krupa.

Less than half a mile away from the house there is a sign that states the area is in Fire District 9. The house on Best and Forker which caught on fire is on a boundary line between District 9 and Spokane Valley Fire.

“You see that sign as you break around the corner. But it doesn't say you're in District 9 only if you're on the right side of the road or the left side of the road,” said Division Chief Jay Atwood.

Officials said the first engine was called out from District 9. It arrived almost exactly ten minutes after the 911 call was received which was about a minute and a half more than the Spokane Valley’s standard response time of eight minutes and 26 seconds.

As crews were responding to the scene they recognized the address as being in the Valley. Crews immediately called in mutual aid.

The first engine from Valley fire was on scene in seven minutes.

Officials said even if they had arrived 90 seconds sooner the house would have still been engulfed.

“No one was home at the time of the fire, and no call was made to dispatch when the fire had started,” said Bill Clifford, Spokane Valley Fire Department.

The fire likely started from fireplace ashes that had been dumped in a plastic container on the back porch.

It is believed those ashes smoldered and went unnoticed for hours before spreading.
Department leaders said they will likely do what is called an after action review on the incident to see if there are ways to improve response times and avoid any confusion the next time.