South Hill Garage Goes Up In Flames

SPOKANE — A fire on the South Hill burned intensely early Tuesday morning but firefighters were able to keep it from spreading past a detached garage.

The fire broke at about a quarter to four near the intersection of 25th and Bernard. Thick black smoke was visible from several blocks away and flames at least 20 feet high were seen shooting into the sky.

“The entire garage was a bonfire,” homeowner Dave Hanson said. “My neighbor woke up before I did and she said that it looked like it started on the ground in the garage and spread. Then, in about the two or three minutes between the time she woke up and I woke up, the whole thing was just engulfed.”

Firefighters don’t know what caused the fire but they consider the circumstances around it suspicious.

“Early indicators are leading us to believe this fire was intentionally set,” the Spokane Fire Department said through a release late Tuesday morning.

Investigators were on scene well into Tuesday morning trying to determine a definitive source.

The flames were burning intensely and largely enough to singe the back of the Hanson’s home as well, but property damage was kept almost entirely to the detached garage. Dave credits his neighbors with mobilizing quickly to let him and the fire department know of the blaze and give them the best chance to gain control of the situation.

He said there were two vehicles, bikes and other odds and ends in the garage that were lost in the flames, but no irreplaceable family heirlooms. Dave, his wife and daughter have lived in the home since 1999 and all were in the residence when the fire broke out.

Nobody in the Hanson family was injured, however two firefighters were treated with minor injuries. One complained of shoulder strain while the other suffered a foot injury.

The fire department estimates $60,000 worth of property was damaged and said 24 firefighters were dispatched as the blaze hit its height.