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Spokane Valley mom up for Hero of the Year award

A Spokane County firefighter's wife is up for the for the title of Hero of the Year following her life saving efforts back in February.

"I don't feel like a hero," Rachelle Flatt said on Wednesday. "It's a humbling experience for sure, just to be recognized for that."

Rachelle was just getting ready to go to bed on February 18 when she saw and orange glow coming from her porch. Moments later, she was scrambling to find her three toddlers in their Spokane Valley home that was fully engulfed in flames. The mom took their middle child, 4-year-old Claire out first, then went back in for the youngest, 1-year-old Cecilia. Her second and final trip would be to find the oldest, 7-year-old Owen.

"I don't know why but I grabbed them each one by one," Rachelle said. "Going back for my last one was really difficult, we barely got out."

Her husband, Pete was at work when he got the call that his home was on fire. When he arrived on scene, he found his wife on a stretcher and the children unharmed.

"It's a really fortunate thing," Pete Flatt said. "We're really lucky."

Controversy continues over proposed WSU medical school

Controversy continues over proposed WSU medical school

 The University of Washington released a scathing rebuttal this week to a report supporting the creation of a medical school for Washington State University, saying it contains “a number of deep flaws,” and is based on “faulty assumptions, omissions and erroneous data.”

WSU first approached consultant MGT of America in February to conduct a feasibility assessment for a new medical school based on the University's health sciences campus in Spokane. Specifically the assessment was to focus on the need for physicians in Eastern Washington, the best educational model to meet those needs, if current WSU resources were capable of creating a program to meet accreditation standards and the required time and resources to develop a new medical school.

Spokane Police urging anonymous tipster to call back

Spokane Police urging anonymous tipster to call back

Spokane Police Major Crimes detectives are looking for the public to help them gain more information about a homicide at the Howard Johnson Motel on August 10.

The day after the crime, Spokane Police received two anonymous messages from the same person with information, and now detectives are asking that individual to contact them again and request to speak with Detective Barrington.

Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward for anyone providing information that leads to an arrest in the indicident. Persons with information, including the anonymous tipster, should call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Alert Spokane helped inform residents during I-90 chemical spill

Alert Spokane helped inform residents during I-90 chemical spill

During the hazardous materials spill at the Washington Port of Entry Sunday authorities were able to use a new system called "Alert Spokane" to warn people in the area to shelter in place.

Once the incident commanders at the Washington-Idaho border realized they were dealing with not only a flammable but poisonous substance, they decided people in the immediate area needed to take some special precautions. Emergency management officials started calling nearby residents but didn't reach everyone they wanted to, and that's where Alert Spokane came in handy.

"Basically what it does is, it looks at the 911 database and it looks for those phone numbers that are specific within that geographic areas that they have defined on the map," Ed Lewis with Spokane County Emergency Management said.

Based on the weather and the type of chemical leaking from the tanker truck, incident commanders decided only people living with in a half mile of the port needed some special instructions.

Team effort helped tackle Port of Entry hazmat incident

Team effort helped tackle Port of Entry hazmat incident

A dangerous chemical leak shut down Interstate 90 for 20 hours Sunday and forced the mobilization of a dozen first responder agencies from across the region to tackle the clean up.

Early Sunday afternoon a semi truck on its way to Moses Lake was stopped at the Washington Port of Entry after a driver in Idaho reported an ammonia smell coming from the truck. The truck was leaking trimethylamine anhydrous gas, and the Idaho State Police and the Washington State Patrol immediately called in hazardous materials crew to clean up the leak.

Emergency responders from multiple agencies, including Spokane, Spokane Valley and Fairchild Air Force Base, all converged on the Port of Entry, working through the night in a situation which Jeff Bordwell with the Spokane Valley Fire Department described as anything but routine.

"When you start messing with materials like this that are flammable and can take out people very quickly, whether it be by flame or health concerns," he said.

In total only about a gallon of the chemical was actually leaked but it's highly volatile and highly flammable.

Grant County child hospitalized with possible enterovirus

Grant County child hospitalized with possible enterovirus

A Grant County child has been hospitalized with a severe respiratory that may be enterovirus D68. A test returned positive for enterovirus/rhinovirus, but was unable to distinguish between the two. Additional testing is being done at the Centers for Disease Control that will determine which it is, with results expected next week.

Grant County Health Officer Dr. Alexander Brezny issued a public health advisory to local healthcare providers and schools. The CDC has said this is a rapidly evolving situation. Previously EV-D68 has been rare in the U.S, but in other states the outbreaks are resulting in many children requiring ER visits and hospitalizations, mostly for breathing problems and severe asthma.

The virus spreads from person to person like a cold and has been causing mild to severe breathing illnesses (runny nose, cough, difficulty breathing) both with and without fever. Children with per-existing asthma may suffer worse infections. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for enteroviruses.

I-90 back open after hazardous material leak

I-90 back open after hazardous material leak

Interstate 90 is back open from Post Falls to Liberty after a chemical leak had shut it down for nearly 18 hours.

A tanker semi truck was leaking vapors from a load of Trimethylamine Anhydrous, which is used for agricultural fertilizer, at the Washington Port of Entry just four miles east of Liberty Lake.

Technicians with the HAZMAT team were able to cap that leak Monday morning.

Officials shut down I-90 just before 2:30 p.m. Sunday, causing major traffic headaches for drivers.

A car that was following behind the semi truck in Idaho reported the smell of ammonia. The truck was stopped at a weigh station near Liberty Lake.

Trimethylamine Anhydrous is highly toxic, so a HAZMAT crew from the Spokane Fire Department was called in. Officials say that the substance needs a minimum perimeter of 350 feet around it. Because of that, officials decided to shut down the freeway and evacuate the Port of Entry weigh station.

While it isn't a threat right now, the chemical can can cause serious injuries and is highly flammable, so officials aren't taking any chances.