Spokane County and Spokane Valley fire crews responded to more suspicious fires over the weekend, heightening concerns that a serial arsonist has set almost two dozen blazes.
A total of 21 brush fires and two house fires in the past week and a half are considered suspicious by investigators.
“We’re very frustrated,” said Assistant Chief Greg Godfrey with Spokane County Fire District 8. “It’s beginning to tax us as far as manpower goes.”
Investigators are asking people to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233 if they see any suspicious people or vehicles. Anyone with security cameras in the areas where fires have been reported are asked to check recorded footage for suspicious activity.
“We encourage the public to be diligent and responsive in looking for things out of the ordinary,” Godfrey said Sunday. “We’re going to need help.”
The latest fire, around 7 a.m. Sunday, was in a house under construction at Apollo and Daystar roads, between Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake. That is two doors down from another suspicious fire Sept. 14 in a house under construction.
Firefighters also extinguished a brush fire at 2:45 a.m. Sunday nearby on South Windsor Drive. South of that area, a resident put out a grass fire on Linke Road on Saturday afternoon. And firefighters responded to another grass fire at 10 p.m. Saturday on South Starlight Lane.
Several fire crews from Fire District 8 and Spokane Valley Fire Department were up all night, Godfrey said.
The first and largest fire was the wildfire near the Saltese Flats that threatened eight homes and was fought by several fire agencies on Sept. 18.
A task force was formed Thursday with representatives from Fire District 8, Spokane Valley Fire, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, the Liberty Lake Police Department and the state Department of Natural Resources.