Firefighters: South Hill fires may be human-caused



Posted on July 16, 2013 at 6:21 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 16 at 6:41 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Firefighters said several fires that sparked Monday on South Hill were caused by humans. One woman was especially angry that someone may have started a fire right behind her mother’s home.

The fire burned a small area because firefighters said they managed to arrive quickly and contain it. Neighbors said it started when someone threw fireworks from a moving car.

“This is just ridiculous. Who in their right mind would run around throwing fire crackers out when it’s dry as it is?” said Joanne McIntyre, the daughter of somebody who owns a home near one of the fires. “Duh!”

McIntyre said she left her mother’s home for a short time Tuesday morning to run errands.

“She [her mother] calls me, she says, ‘Oh, you leave for five minutes and somebody tried to burn the back yard down,’” McIntyre said.

Firefighters returned to battle another fire a  couple blocks away near Greene and Marietta.

“I heard a big boom around the corner, sounded like a firework,” said John Barrios, who lives in the area.

“She calls me later,” McIntyre continued, “and says there’s another fire up the street. By that time I’m so hostile, if I could find somebody that’s running around with firecrackers, believe me, I don’t know if the fire department or the police would have enough left over to get him.”

The Spokane Fire Department said they are especially concerned on hot, dry, windy days. The Assistant Fire Chief said the department began sending more resources to fight fires which can grow very quickly under red flag conditions.

“Otherwise,” said Brian Schaeffer, the Spokane Assistant Fire Chief, “we can end up with another Valley View or a similar type of event, or face fire that would endanger lives. And it’s definitely what we are going to try to stop.”

The fire department asked the community to immediately call authorities if they see suspicious activity that could lead to fire. Schaeffer added that some of these fires could put his comrades in positions where they may not get to come home.

He said his preference is prevention.