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Rural fire departments urge home safety following third structure fire this month

Sunday structure fire
Posted at 11:53 AM, Nov 14, 2023

HELENA — West Valley Fire Rescue is reminding people to have their chimneys cleaned and inspected and ensure smoke detectors are working following multiple structure fires in the area.

Sunday marked the third structure fire Lewis and Clark County rural fire departments have responded to this month. The initial 911 caller reported fire from a neighbor’s house with occupants still inside.

“Quick action from the neighbor alerted fire department resources as well as waking the homeowner and grandson up,” said WVFR in a press release.

Upon arrival, WVFR found a well-established attic fire that had burned through the ceiling of the living room.

structure fire aftermath

On-duty West Valley firefighters made the initial fire attack knocking the fire down as additional resources arrived from City of Helena Fire, Fort Harrison VA Fire, East Valley Fire, Canyon Creek Fire, Baxendale Fire, & Montana City Fire. Eastgate Fire provided the fire coordinator to assist in managing resources.

WVFR says the cause is undetermined at this time, but it appears a chimney fire or heat from the chimney could have caused it. The home did not have working smoke detectors.

“If you use a wood fireplace during the cold winter season, please have your chimney cleaned and inspected & working smoke detectors save lives and help to reduce damage from a fire. Please ensure you protect your family,” wrote WVFR.