Suspicious fires damage 3 vacant Spokane houses

Suspicious fires damage 3 vacant Spokane houses

A three alarm fire had crews from 16 Spokane Fire engines fighting blazes at three homes on the South Hill Sunday morning. It was reported as smoke showing in the area just after 6 a.m., but when crews arrived on scene they found three vacant homes on fire near Fifth Avenue near Chandler.

“It’s discouraging to get that phone call this morning that this had happened,” property owner Bridgit Wilson said.

Wilson had just closed on two of the homes recently. Her parents own the other. They had high hopes to fix up the homes for commercial use to benefit that area of the Medical District.

“These are the last three eye sores on this block and we really had some vision for turning this around and making them look really good,” Wilson said.

Now the homes are scorched. Firefighters could be seen shoveling out debris on the top floor of one of the homes. Windows are broken out of the others. Fire officials said that they had to call in almost all of their resources to put out the fire.

“Anytime we have a third alarm we’re bringing in everybody,” Battalion Chief Craig Cornelius said. “So we had assistance from some of the other fire departments to assist with the city’s coverage.”

Fire officials said the fire is suspicious. The homes were vacant, but Wilson said they’ve been dealing with transients living there. She said the night before the fire she made sure the doors and windows were closed up because of the problems that they’ve had the past week.

“We really had a lot of problems this week keeping the transients out at night, in the morning there would usually be someone who had gotten in,” Wilson said.

Fire officials add that the gap in between the home makes them wonder how the fire could spread from the one home to the other two, especially since it wasn’t windy. Cornelius said they brought in an investigators to get those questions answered.

For now, Wilson’s plans to move her interior design business into one of the homes are one hold. She doesn’t have any doubts that the insurance will cover the damage, but she was hoping to help out the surrounding medical professionals.

“They were elated that someone was going to come in and get everyone out and get them cleaned out and we really made a lot of progress this week,” Wilson said.

She said she’ll examine the damage and see what can be salvaged.

“I still have not given up, I would still really love to see this block turned around,” Wilson said.