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Sep 23, 2019

For Immediate Release: 

September 23, 2019


Julie Happy

Community Affairs Manager

Spokane Valley Fire Department






Spokane Valley Fire Department (SVFD) units responded last evening to two fires in the 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. hours.  Both fires were structure fires including one on Indiana Avenue at the Oxford Inn and Suites and one on Jackson Avenue at Sunrise Place. Approximately 40 apparatus and support vehicles responded in total to both fires.

Firefighters responded to the call on Indiana Avenue around 9 p.m. after a call into 911 reported smoke coming from a kitchen.  Crews arrived at the fire and discovered smoke from an oven had moved into the hallway.  Smoke was clearly evident on the first and second floors. The building fire alarm had been pulled and the building had been evacuated before crews arrived.

Crews investigated and found a fire in the wall behind the commercial stove. Fortunately, they were able to quickly keep the fire contained to this area and maintain minimal damage.  The fire did not get hot enough to deploy the sprinkler system.  With the ability to extinguish the fire quickly, the smoke damage was contained to just the first and second floors.  Crews vented the building and established safety.

There were no firefighter or civilian injuries reported. The fire is under investigation though no suspicious activity is suspected.

Firefighters responded to the second call on Jackson E Avenue around 10 p.m. after a call into 911 reported smoke and flames coming from a double wide manufactured home in space 34. Division Chief Mike Charter arrived on scene first.  From the road, the fire appeared to fully engulf the home.  Upon approach, there was significant smoke that concealed all aspects of the fire.  Inspection revealed, one side of the home was actively burning from the ground to the top of the home.  The other side was clear of fire.  The fire was upgraded to a working fire.  All occupants had evacuated the trailer and crews were able to begin a defensive attack on the home and an offensive approach on the other exposures.

The fire started in the carport which was attached to the west side of the home along the long side of the house.  Crews worked from the outside to extinguish the fire cutting open the eaves on the fire side of the home, holes on the gabled end, and a hole in a wall for better access to the interior.  Manufactured homes present a safety risk and crews typically work from the outside in to maintain safe working conditions.  The separation wall between the attic and the interior of the house, kept the fire from fully engulfing the entirety of the home.

Crews worked on the fire until approximately 11:30 p.m. and ended with a safety survey being completed.  Clean up of the area ensued and a fire watch was put in place around 12:30 a.m.

There were no firefighter or civilian injuries reported. Residents of the home were able to shelter with other neighbors.

The causes of both fires are under investigation.

“Fire District 9’s E94 also responded to the Jackson E Avenue incident under the new AutoAid Agreement,” said SVFD Division Chief Mike Charter. “This is the first fire response under this agreement and it performed as it was intended.  We want to thank Fire District 9 and Engine 94 for their help.  This is a great partnership that worked out very well last night.”

The Spokane Valley Fire Department would like to remind residents to have a home safety inspection completed to check all fire and Carbon Monoxide alarms for functionality and that there is adequate placement throughout their home.  Approximately, two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke detectors. Smoke detectors should be installed in the living areas on every floor of your home.  Smoke detectors more than ten years old should be replaced.  If you have questions or want a free home inspection call your Spokane Valley Fire Department, 892-4153 or visit


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, classified as an ISO Class 2 department by the Washington Survey and Ratings Bureau (WSRB).  SVFD is one of four accredited departments in the state and the only department with distinction as an ISO 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.”