Crews Battling Three Alarm Fire At Ugly Duck

SPOKANE — Most of the Spokane Fire Department is fighting a defensive battle against a three-alarm structure fire at Ugly Duck Liquidators at 1727 West Sinto. 

The fire broke out just after 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon at the building supply business. It started in some plastic bins in an east-west alley next to the business and employees initially tried to knock the fire down with hand-held fire extinguishers. However the wind whipped the flames up and they lost control of the spreading fire.

The Spokane Fire Department launched a full response at 1:03 p.m. for the structure fire, located at the intersection of West Sinto Avenue and 1400 North Oak Street. Oak Street was shut down between Sinto and Maxwell for the fire response.

Spokane Fire Chief Bobby Williams said that firefighters initially conducted an interior attack on the building but the situation became “untenable” and they pulled all the crews out and switched to defensive mode, preventing the fire from spreading to adjoining buildings in the complex. One thing that hasn’t helped firefighters’ efforts has been the weather.

“The wind did not help us at all,” Chief Williams said.

As of 3:15 p.m. the fire department had 14 of its 17 companies at the Ugly Duck fire, and were relying on mutual aid assistance from other area departments to back them up if other assistance calls happened within the city.

Due to the large amount of combustible building products inside the building, crews have broken holes out of the metal warehouse to ventilate it and feed the flames oxygen to try and burn out all of the combustible products. The alternative, Chief Williams said, was to allow the building to continue smoldering for an extended period of time.

“We’re going to be here a while … until it consumes itself,” Chief Williams said.

John Davis, one of the owners of Ugly Duck Liquidators, says he has about $2.5 Million worth of inventory in the warehouse and recently had all of the electrical wiring in the building re-done. He also had several parrots inside the building which firefighters were able to rescue.

Davis isn’t sure at this point how much of his inventory will be salvageable and doesn’t know what started the fire.

This is the seventh fire the company has had and every fire they’ve had until Wednesday were arson fires. Ugly Duck’s owners previously installed surveillance cameras due to the rash of arson fires they’ve had in the past and have already turned their surveillance video over to fire investigators.

More details to be posted here as they come in; in the meantime you can watch a
live video feed of the fire here