Fire District 8 Falls Victim To Heavy Snowfall

SPOKANE — Heavy snow likely caused the roof to collapse at a fire station in southern Spokane County Wednesday night, one of the latest casualties of recent snow storms.

Firefighters at Fire District 8 Station in Valleyford along the Palouse Highway had been shoveling snow off the roof Wednesday and called Belfor Construction after they heard strange noises in the ceiling.

“About two o’clock we had some firefighters in the facility who heard some cracking. At that time we assessed the building and saw some cracking in the sheet rock above the bay area,” Deputy Chief Lonnie Rash of Fire District 8 said.

The bay is where District 8 garages its engine, brush rigs and other trucks. Crews quickly moved the equipment to the parking lot while Belfor’s contractors began using shovels and a snow blower to start clearing the roof.

“Subsequently as that was in process we had a some failure to the truss system which caused the bay area of the fire station to collapse from the roof into the bay area,” Rash said.

Two of Belfor’s workers rode the roof to the ground, their fall cushioned by the heavy snow. No one was hurt but the fire station, including its communication system, is out of commission.

District 8 is now going to great lengths to make sure that it can still protect the people who live here in Valleyford. The station’s crews will overnight in an RV for a quick response. And someone will have to run Engine 82 at night to make sure the plumbing inside doesn’t freeze.

“We will be using that to make sure the pumps don’t freeze and we are securing facilities where we can get them inside a building and have them heated much like this station would have been,” Deputy Chief Rash said.

The firefighters are now hoping for warmer weather but clear skies, knowing that any rain on top of existing snow could trigger more roof failures in our area.