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Oct 21, 2019

For Immediate Release:

October 18, 2019


George Hedebeck

Captain, PIO

Spokane Valley Fire



Firefighters Extinguish Early Morning Argonne Fire

Traffic restrictions in place for southbound Argonne


Spokane Valley Fire Department (SVFD) units responded at 4:18 AM to a report of a house fire in the 4300 block of N Argonne. Residents called 911 to report a fire in the home, after awaking to the smell of smoke. Residents’ escape was initially blocked by fire in the living room, and used a secondary exit to leave the home.

SVFD Engine 2 from the Millwood station was first on scene to a small home with heavy smoke and flames showing from the front door and living room window. The response was upgraded to a working fire, bringing a total of 13 fire units and command vehicles to the incident, including automatic aid partners Fire District 9, and the Spokane Fire Dept. Firefighters quickly deployed fire hoses to begin attacking the blaze and a large water supply hose was stretched to the hydrant. E94 performed a quick search of the residence to confirm everyone was safely outside; however, a cat was discovered that did not survive.

Battalion Chief V-21 assumed command of the fire and was able to downgrade the response to just the units on scene, due to the quick knock down of fire by initial arriving firefighters. This downgrade returned units from Spokane Fire and District 9 to their respective areas.

Firefighters had the fire extinguished in under 10 minutes, but remained on scene for several additional hours to due to an electrical hazard in the home delaying investigators from entering safely. The residents were originally alerted to a smell of smoke while sleeping, and awoke to find their living room engulfed in fire. Despite a rapid fire attack, a majority of home suffered fire damage, and cost estimates are unavailable at this time.

The exact fire cause is under investigation. There were no reports of injuries to firefighters; and, the only reportable injury was the feline fatality. An adult occupant was examined by on scene paramedics for smoke inhalation and was not transported. The home’s occupants will be displaced and staying with local relatives in the short term. Assistance was provided by Spokane Valley Police Department for traffic control, Avista for utility control, and a standby ambulance from American Medical Response. Due to the electrical hazard and firefighter safety issues, Argonne was blocked for several hours and was slowly re-opened to traffic during the morning commute.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department would like to remind residents to change the batteries in your smoke detectors when you change your clocks and test them monthly. More than one-third (38%) of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarms are present.


About SVFD
Spokane Valley Fire Department serves the cities of Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake, Millwood and the surrounding unincorporated areas of Spokane County with a combined population of 125,000 across 75 square miles. SVFD firefighter crews which include paramedics and EMT’s, responded to more than 17,487 emergency calls in 2018.

Established in 1940, SVFD is an Accredited Agency by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International; and has a class 2 WSRB rating as given by the Washington Survey and Ratings Bureau (WSRB).  SVFD is one of four accredited departments in the state and the only accredited department with distinction as a WSRB class 2.   

For more information about Spokane Valley Fire Department, visit

Follow us @spokanevalleyfire on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.


Did you Know?


  • You can sign up for a station tour. Great for small groups.
  • You should replace the batteries in your smoke alarms twice a year.
  • Creating a defensible space with regards to wildfires could just save your home or property.

Media Contact

  • Julie Happy
  • 509-892-4155

Commissioner Patrick Burch

Board Member Since: July 18, 2016
Current term expires: December 31, 2025

Commissioner Burch was appointed to the Board of Fire Commissioners in July 2016 to fill an unexpired term and has served continuously since that time. He became a volunteer member of the Department’s CERT Team in 2008 and later served as a team leader/member of Fire Corps.

“I admire the Spokane Valley Fire Department’s focus on continuous improvement. Our dedication to the community, fiscal responsibility and the fact that we are one of the few accredited fire departments in the State of Washington all make SVFD great!”

Note: As the individual appointed to this non-partisan position, Commissioner Burch was elected by voters in November 2017.

Commissioner Mike Kester

Board Member Since: January 1, 2020
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2025

Commissioner Mike Kester was elected to the Board of Fire Commissioners in November, 2019.

Commissioner Kester grew up in the Spokane area and has a deep appreciation for just how fortunate we all are to live in this beautiful area. He believes that being involved in this community is not something to take lightly.

His background includes joining the United States Coast Guard (U.S.C.G) after high school and serving on a port firefighting boat doing search and rescue in Portland, Oregon.  After the Coast Guard, he attended the University of Montana earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Resource Management.  He then went on to work for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, serving in their Parks Department.

Spokane was the next step in his career. He  went to work for the Burlington Santa Fe Railroad and the next 22 years was spent as a conductor moving freight. Commissioner Kester  retired in 2010 after a workplace injury and now,  he and his wife enjoy making meals for World War II Veterans, helping out at the YMCA ,and providing meals for those in need.

“In the 25 years of being a resident of the Spokane Valley the professionalism of the SVFD has inspired me to take an active part in bettering our community. We have one of the best fire departments in the whole Pacific Northwest. My wife and I have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. I have dedicated my life to keeping them safe.  I want to apply that dedication to our community.  Keeping us all safe is a goal we should all aspire to in one way or another. Communication within the department and with the public is, and always will be one of my primary goals.”

Commissioner John Guarisco

Board Member since: August 27, 2018
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2027

Commissioner Guarisco was appointed to the Board of Fire Commissioners in August 2018 to fill an unexpired term and has served continuously since that time. Commissioner Guarisco founded Marjoni Marketing in 2004 and in 2010 merged with MDI marketing. He then pursued Real Estate, earning his license and now, currently serves the greater Spokane area as a licensed Realtor. He has long been active in the community and has won numerous awards during his career including the Volunteer of the Year (2014) and the Community Caring Award (2010) from the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce.  He is a member of the Greater Spokane Valley Rotary Club and holds an AA degree from Spokane Falls Community College.

Note: As the individual appointed to this non-partisan position, Commissioner Guarisco was elected by voters in November 2019.

Commissioner Bill Anderson

Board Member since: January 1, 2000
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2023

Commissioner Anderson served our community as a Spokane Valley Fire Department firefighter for 29 years. Throughout his career, he worked as a firefighter, dispatcher and engineer before he was promoted and became an officer. He was Station Captain of Millwood Station 2 when he retired in 1999. During his years as firefighter, he was an active leader of Spokane Valley Firefighters Local 876 and served as a trustee on the Washington State Council of Firefighters for 25 years.

“It’s important to me that we continue the good service we’ve always given the people. We’ve accomplished a lot and are pulling in the same direction to get better. I’m very proud of the Spokane Valley Fire Department.”

Commissioner Brian Asmus

Board Member Since: June 14, 2021
Current term expires: 

Commissioner Brian Asmus was appointed to the Spokane Valley Fire Department Board of Fire Commissioners in 2021.

Commissioner Asmus is the former Liberty Lake Police Chief and current Director of Safety and Security at Central Valley School District (CVSD).

“Brian Asmus brings extensive Public Safety leadership experience, and a long history of being actively engaged in his community to his new role as a SVFD Commissioner,” said SVFD Fire Chief, Bryan Collins. “During his time as a Police Chief, Brian interacted with SVFD firefighters and administrators on a regular basis, making him very familiar with our structure, standing within our communities, as well as with many of our current SVFD board members and personnel. Brian’s experience working and collaborating on regional issues aligns nicely with SVFD’s philosophy and will help us continue to be a catalyst for local and regional excellence and innovation.”