GREAT FALLS — Gary Lewis Brockway, 58 years old, has been identified as the man found dead inside a home that burned on Monday.
Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter said that the autopsy indicated there were signs of smoke inhalation. At this point, the death has been ruled as an accident due to inhalation of toxic substances (smoke) and thermal injuries. Toxicology is still pending so there is a possibility that cause/manner of death may change.
Mandy Dunn lived next door to Brockway; she said, "I think at first, part of me was in denial because I really hoped he wasn't inside the house. But when it really hit me, I think I was more worried about comforting our other friends and stuff before I could fully feel the impact of it myself."
The man’s cat also died in the fire. “His cat was his life. That was his baby. There’s nothing he loved more than his cat and some rock ’n roll music,” Dunn said.
Great Falls Fire Rescue said on Wednesday that the cause of the fire remains "undetermined." Sheriff Slaughter said there are no signs of foul play in regard to either the death or the fire at this point.
(1st REPORT, DECEMBER 28) Emergency crews responded to a residential fire in Great Falls on Monday morning. It happened at Trailer Terrace at 5405 Lower River Road.
The fire has been extinguished, and firefighters are going through the home at this time; they do not yet know if anyone was inside at the time.
Witnesses told KRTV that a employees of an HVAC company was nearby, and they tried to knock down the door and break windows to see if anyone was inside.
Holly Morris lives nearby, and was one of the people who called 911. She said people running around outside alerted her to the fire.
Morris said, "We honestly thought there was a fight about to happen, so we started hollering at them. Then I look over at my neighbor's house and you just see a big barrel of smoke coming out of the top of the house and then you just see flames kind of coming from the windows. I just saw people running around breaking windows.”
Great Falls Fire Rescue says that the investigation into the cause is underway.
Responding agencies include Great Falls Fire Rescue, Great Falls Emergency Services, Cascade County Sheriff's Office, and others.