PRESS RELEASE FROM THE SPOKANE FIRE DEPT: The Spokane City Fire Dept. dispatched firefighting crews and their apparatus to 917 W 16th Ave at 15:22 hrs on Saturday afternoon, June 29th, to a reported structure fire at that address.
Rescue 9, from the neighborhood fire station located at 18th and Bernard, was the first apparatus to arrive on scene. The officer on that apparatus reported that there was a 2 story wood/frame residence with smoke showing from the peak of the roof. Upon hearing that initial report the responding South Battalion Chief radioed the Fire Dispatch Center and requested that the fire call be up-graded to a "working fire".
This up-grade would add an additional fire apparatus to the incident. As fire crews began arriving on scene they were assigned to various tasks which included initial fire attack, a back-up hose line to protect the crew already going inside to attack the fire, a secondary fire attack lead, water supply, a ladder crew to go to the roof to evaluate the status of the roof structure, another ladder crew to enter the structure to begin pulling down the ceiling in a second floor bedroom and to start covering the contents of the home with water-proof tarps, a Scene Safety Officer was assigned, and the mandated RIT (Rapid Intervention Team) was established for any needed rescue of a lost or down fire fighter.
Fortunately there was no one at the home at the time of the fire. The coordinated work done by the fire crews on scene resulted in a quick knock-down of the fire which was located in the attic of the structure. Crews remained on scene for nearly three hours overhauling the scene and searching for any signs of hidden fire.
There were no reports of injuries to any of the fire fighters at the scene. The building sustained heavy fire damage to a small portion of the attic and to the ceiling in one second floor bedroom that had to be opened by fire fighters so they could get at the fire burning above them.
The cause of this fire was investigated by the Spokane City Fire Dept.'s Special Investigation Unit and the initial report, based on eye witness accounts and visual indicators found in the tall pine trees surrounding the structure, was determined to be a lightning strike.
Four engines, two senior ladders, one heavy rescue truck, and two Command Vehicles delivered 23 fire fighters to this incident.
Cause: Lightning strike traveling down two tall pine trees that had branches touching the roof of the house.
Damage: Small area of the attic, ceiling in a second floor bedroom.
# Firefighters Responding: 23
Dollar Loss: $ 20,000
Other Agencies Responding: AMR to standby for any injury that could occur.