Man starts North Spokane garage fire with propane torch

Man starts North Spokane garage fire with propane torch

SPOKANE, Wash. - A garage fire in North Spokane on Saturday is prompting firefighters to ask residents to be cautious during this dry streak.

The homeowner, who wishes his identity not be revealed, admits the blaze probably started when he was burning weeds in his yard yesterday morning. He showed KXLY4 the propane torch used to get rid of the pesky plants.

"It's out in the garage, but it's exactly like this," he said showing a propane tank on his barbecue.

He told us he made a mistake and thought the weed patch was extinguished went he left for lunch. Luckily, his neighbors saw what was happening and quickly responded.

"The neighbor had just come back from grocery shopping and he saw smoke and called the fire department," the homeowner said.

There's only about $500 worth of damage. While it's a little incident, it comes with a bigger message. A burn ban remains in effect for Spokane County and there are consequences for anyone disobeying that. This incident could come with a fine.

"It's open burning, so it would be a reckless burning ticket most likely," Brian Schaeffer with the City of Spokane Fire Department said.

While it might be obvious to not use a torch during fire season, you might not know that some power tools are banned too. The Department of Natural Resources has most of Spokane County under a Industrial Fire Precautions Level 2. That means people can only operate power saws between the hours of 8p.m. and 1p.m.

Operators must also accompany the area an hour after to monitor for any fire activity.

"This weather is hard to battle fire with," Schaeffer said. "This is hot, fire moves incredibly fast, we've had bad winds come through Spokane. It's really changed the dynamic on the ground and complicated the situation for us."

He asks that residents educate themselves and choose their activities wisely while this heat-streak continues.