UPDATE 3:30 p.m.: Lewis and Clark County Sheriff and Coroner Leo Dutton has identified the deceased as 81-year-old Gerald Adam Kercher. The cause and manner of death are pending an autopsy.
ORIGINAL STORY: HELENA — A body was found in the wreckage of a structure fire Monday morning in northwest Helena.
Around 2:30 a.m., Helena Fire said they were alerted to a structure fire on Dunbar Ave by a passing Helena Police Department Officer. The officer reported seeing smoke coming from the roof and eaves.
“Upon arrival, Helena Fire Department responders found heavy fire conditions with the fire already venting through the roof,” said Helena Fire in a press release.
Mutual Aid was requested with the Veteran Affairs Fire Department, West Valley Volunteer Fire Department, East Valley Fire Department, Montana City Volunteer Fire Department, St. Peter’s Ambulance, and the Helena Police Department.
After the fire was brought under control, crews entered the structure to investigate for hidden fires.
During that investigation, firefighters found a body near what is believed to be the area of origin of the fire.
The manner of death of the person and the cause of the fire are under investigation.