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Third fire in three weeks put out Tuesday


Last updated 11/14/2019 at 11:27am

A garage fire in Grand Coulee was extinguished before it spread on Monday afternoon, causing mostly smoke damage, with no one suffering any injuries.

“It could have been way worse,” Marjie Gallagher said about the fire that she said was caused by a wood stove.

Her husband, Don, has power tools in the garage at their home on Roosevelt Drive, she said, among lots of other stuff, but she wasn’t sure of the extent of the damage yet.

“It’s just a big mess, really,” she said, adding that they are still able to stay in their house and aren’t in need of any assistance.

“Fortunately, with the help of our mutual aid partners, we were able to extinguish it and save the majority of the garage,” a post on the Grand Coulee Volunteer Fire Department’s Facebook page reads. “It was stubborn, it took us a while to get all the smoke out of the attic space to ensure it was all out.”

Fifteen firefighters from Grand Coulee, Electric City, Coulee Dam, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation were on the scene for about two hours, with four fire engines. Two Grand Coulee police officers were there, as well.

“As a family we worked and achieved our goals safely and minimized the damage from the smoke and fire,” the department’s Facebook post says. “Our thoughts are with the Gallagher family for their loss of property. Good time to remember to check smoke detectors and make sure you have lots of clearance around all your heaters as we go into our cold season.”

Local firefighters also responded to two fires at the end of October.

Oct. 29 and the other on Oct. 30, facing cold winds and stopping a small house fire from becoming much bigger.

On Oct 29, at approximately 11:26 a.m., Grand Coulee and Electric City Volunteer Fire Departments were called to assist Douglas County Fire District 3 with an approximately 20-acre wildland fire northeast of Smith Lake Road and 32 Rex Road.

Grand Coulee volunteers responded with two wildland trucks and six firefighters; Electric City volunteers responded with one wildland truck and two firefighters; the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation assisted with a fire tender and two firefighters; and Douglas County Fire District 3 had three trucks and seven firefighters on scene.

The firefighters were at the location for three hours.

“The crews had to combat the fire in strong, cold winds,” a press release from Grand Coulee Volunteer Fire Department stated..

That fire did not burn any structures, but did burn animal feed.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

“We were happy that we got the Douglas County Fire under control quickly with the high winds and cold temperatures,” Grand Coulee Fire Chief Richard Paris said in an email to The Star, noting that it’s still fire season.

The next day, Oct. 30, firefighters put out a house fire on Fortuyn Road, where a neighbor ouit for a walk at 11:40 a.m. saw smoke and called 911.

Grand Coulee and Electric City Volunteer Fire Departments, along with USBR fire fighters, responded with four fire engines, 15 total firefighters, and two police officers. They were there for about an hour and a half.

“Upon arrival, they found smoke coming out of a bedroom window,” Paris said. “The crews quickly entered the house and knocked down the fire, keeping it in the one bedroom.”

The fire was “only minutes from being a much bigger fire,” with smoke accumulating “almost down to the floor level.”

No one was home at the time of the fire.

Smoke damage and other damage was estimated at $10,000-$20,000. Grand Coulee Police were able to contact the owner/resident later.

The cause of the fire is under investigation with preliminary indications that it started from a heater.


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