Ugly Duck Owner, SFD In Dispute Over Fire

SPOKANE — It’s a war of words neither side wanted to start. In a recent newspaper article, the owners of the Ugly Duck leveled strong criticism on the Spokane Fire Department after the store burned last month.

John Davis says $2 million in inventory was lost in the fire. He claims the fire department didn’t do it’s job to save his assets. On Friday, the department explained why he’s wrong.

Davis admits this has gotten out of hand.

“It wasn’t meant to get this far out of control, let me assure you,” he says.

But the Ugly Duck owner isn’t too apologetic either.

“So we’re saying, ‘You goofed up,'” says Davis. “They’re saying, ‘Who do you think you are, dummy, to tell us we goofed up?’ We have $2 million that says you goofed up.”

He claims firefighters responded slowly, have the wrong idea of where it started and didn’t do enough to save his store.

“Seven, eight thousand dollar doors, some of them,” Davis says. “It was treated, we feel, casually.”

Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer felt the need to respond.

“They saved a majority of that building,” Schaeffer says. “They protected it from going into the two adjoining buildings. That building was not worth losing a firefighter in.”

Schaeffer cited the downed power lines, the ruptured gas line, fire code violations and the high amount of flammable material inside.

“In this case, we all did collectively as a fire department everything we possibly could to limit the damage to that gentleman’s building,” he says.

Davis thinks they will agree to disagree.

“We’re going to the mat and arguing over who did what and who didn’t do. Who cares?” says Davis. “We think the fire department didn’t handle it right.”

Davis says if the fire department keeps fighting, he’ll shut the business down. Schaeffer says simply, this isn’t a fight, the department doesn’t do that. He hopes someone in the public comes forward with information on how the fire started.