Tenants scramble to safety after wildfire threatens Cheney RV park
CHENEY, Wash. — Gusty winds and the smoke filled the skies of Cheney Tuesday afternoon as the Mullinix Fire broke out shortly before 4 p.m., burning 35 acres off State Route 904 near the Peaceful Pines RV Park.
At first, Suzanne Devleming thought nothing of the smoke she was smelling.
“I thought, oh you know, somebody is just having a fire somewhere,” Devleming said. “And so then all of sudden there was a knock on my door, a rather loud knock.”
The knock belonged to the manager of the RV Park, warning that a wildfire was closing in on the property.
“Three minutes later he knocked and said, ‘Out, you have to get out right now.'”
Devleming tried to escape in her RV but soon realized there wasn’t enough time for that to be an option.
“I have to unhook the sewer, the water, and everything,” Devleming explains. “I was trying to do all that and it’s up on jacks.”
Instead, she grabbed her dog, Migey, and drove away in her spare car, leaving everything she owns in the dust and smoke.
Officials say the fire started around 3:30 p.m. near the railroad tracks behind the RV park. Several Fire Boss planes and 80 firefighters were called in. Even with winds gusting 40 mph, no structures were lost. One commercial building, however, did suffer some damage.
District 3 Fire Chief Cody Rohrbach says even with cooler temperatures, wildfires can linger into the fall season.
“I wouldn’t call it uncommon, particularly given the weather. Firestorm happened on October 16, (1991), in Spokane County so it’s not impossible,” Rohrbach said.
The firestorm he’s referring to burned 35,000 acres and destroyed 114 homes. Those fires were also fueled by gusty winds.
“It’s a pretty good reminder that fire season is not over for the year,” Rohrbach says.
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