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Dec 28, 2021

For Immediate Release:

December 21, 2021


Julie Happy

Community Affairs Manager

Spokane Valley Fire

(509) 892.4155





The Spokane Valley Fire Department (SVFD) responded to a reported house fire around

3 a.m. near East Rich Avenue and East Rockwell Avenue where malfunctioning Christmas lights were a factor.  A passerby initially reported the front of the house fully engulfed in flames.  The homeowner also called 911 to report that their house was on fire. Arriving SVFD crews found a small single-story residence with occupants and pets evacuating. The fire was quickly knocked down by first arriving crews.  The investigator determination showed Christmas decorations as a factor in the origin of the fire.

The fire started on a Christmas decoration on the exterior of the home .

“The fire breeched the soffit and did extend slightly into the attic and a little way into the front door, but all-in-all, another great stop and not a lot of structural damage,” said SVFD Fire Investigator Casey Parr. “The home is still secure and weather tight.”

Firefighters on Valley Engine 5, from SVFD’s Sullivan Station, arrived within six minutes to find the front of the house engulfed in fire.  The fire was initially knocked down with a quick hit from the exterior. After the fire was knocked down, crews entered the structure to conduct a primary search, check for extension and to ventilate smoke from the house.

A total of six Engines, two Ladder trucks, and 3 command vehicles were dispatched.  Three fire suppression vehicles were canceled on arrival. There were no injuries reported for civilians, Firefighters, or pets.  Spokane County Fire District 9 (SCFD9) Engine 94 from Bigelow Gulch Station 94 responded as part of automatic aid.  As part of a standard response, American Medical Response (AMR) responded an ambulance in case of Firefighter or civilian injury.

Red Cross was contacted to assist the residents with housing needs.

SVFD would like to remind citizens not to overload power cords and to have a working smoke detector in their home.

Please follow these safety tips for Holiday decorating:

  • Do not use multiplug adapters.
  • Make sure cords are rated for outdoor use.
  • Do not drape lights or cords in light combustible materials. (i.e., Straw, hay, potting soil)
  • Do not leave lights on for prolong periods of time.
  • Use Christmas light clips instead of nails and screw or staples to secure lights.
  • Use Christmas lights with a UL Safety certification.
  • Use a GFCI outlet for outdoor lights.

SVFD would also like to remind residents side roads continue to be slick so please slow down, be patient, be aware of road conditions, and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination safely.  Also, please remember to pull right for sirens and lights.  Let’s keep everyone going home safely this winter.


About Spokane Valley Fire Department
The Spokane Valley Fire Department (SVFD) serves a population of 125,000+ over 75-square miles, including the cities of Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake and Millwood, as well as surrounding unincorporated areas. In 2020, our cross-trained Firefighter/EMTs and Firefighter/Paramedics responded to more than 18,700 emergency calls.

Established in 1940, SVFD is committed to pursuing excellence and is distinguished as an accredited agency by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI), and by SVFD’s Class 2 fire insurance rating from the Washington Survey and Rating Bureau

Connect with SVFD at: For department news, safety information, and timely updates, find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and 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.”