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Billings mobile home owner picking up pieces after fire

Park-owned hydrants went dry as fire burned
Posted at 3:10 PM, Oct 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-29 17:10:15-04

It was an emotional day for Chad Morrison as he walked through the ashes left behind of his belongings lost in a weekend fire at his Billings Heights mobile home.

"I tried to see if there was anything I could do. I tried a fire extinguisher. I couldn't do nothing. I had to back off," he said Monday.

An accidental fire destroyed Morrison's mobile home Saturday evening, and two malfunctioning fire hydrants didn't help.

Those hydrants are private property that is the responsibility of the owners of the mobile home park, Cherry Creek Homes.

"The owner and his wife, they- bless their heart- they brought by two gift cards. One for Ginger and one for myself. And their exact statement was they are going to make this right," Morrison said.

While battling the fire, the Billings Fire Department had trouble using two fire hydrants that seemed to be malfunctioning. That struggle didn't necessarily slow firefighters' ability to combat the fire, but it could have hindered the mop up, according to Billings Fire Marshal Michael E. Spini.

These hydrants are on private property, which means it is Cherry Creek's responsibility. So what happened? Why didn’t the hydrants work?

"The hydrants didn’t work due to an underground gate valve being partially closed," Cherry Creek homes owner Jock Clause said.

But how that happened- he doesn’t know.

"First thing Sunday morning, Jock and family members were down here checking all of the hydrants cause it was completely unknown. Nobody knew. So they came down and made sure everything was up to par and going. So everything is charged and working the way they should," Morrison said.

Clause says the last time they checked the valves was back in 2018. The valve was open and all pipes were tested and charged fully, ready to use.

The fire caused an estimated $35,000 in property and content damages. Yet Morrison says he has no ill will against the property owners.

Adding that they are going to make it right, he said, "I can't thank them enough. They are such wonderful people."