cit_210401_gonzaga_couch_burning_NW2NDARY

Lucas Brisby stands Wednesday near the charred pieces of an old couch that burned next to the curb at Nora Avenue and Dakota Street near the Gonzaga University campus on Tuesday evening after the Gonzaga Bulldogs’ win over USC in the NCAA Tournament. The fire department responded to the fire, and police responded to a rowdy crowd of Gonzaga fans after the game.

With the Zags going for the NCAA Tournament title tonight, university and Spokane community leaders are urging fans to watch responsibly.

Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward, Gonzaga University President Thayne McCulloh and Spokane police Chief Craig Meidl released a joint statement Monday ahead of tonight's championship game against Baylor.

"Cheering on the Zags is a gift we have had since November. For months, we have been good community teammates by wearing our masks and gathering responsibly," Woodward said in a statement. "Let’s stay on the road to healthy outcomes as we root for our team and their success.”

Meidl said the Spokane Police Department will have extra resources available "in order to ensure the safety of the community."

Between four and six couches were burned near Gonzaga following the team's Final Four win Saturday over UCLA. An earlier couch-burning incident took place last week following Gonzaga's win to advance to the Final Four. Spokane fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said Sunday the fire department will "probably be even better prepared" for tonight's game.

McCulloh previously described the burnings as "completely unacceptable."

"I join with Mayor Woodward and Chief Meidl in asking that everyone celebrate safely and legally, with respect for our neighbors in the local community, and for Spokane Police Department officers and all of our first responders, who every day make sacrifices to keep our community safe," McCulloh said in Monday's statement.

Greg Mason can be reached at (509) 459-5047 or gregm@spokesman.com.