HELENA — Firefighters say an elderly woman and her dog were able to get out safely from a fire that destroyed her home Thursday.
It happened in a mobile home north of Helena, in the 5400 block of North Montana Avenue.
West Valley Fire-Rescue Chief Jerry Shepherd said he saw the fire while leaving his station and he called in for assistance. Several West Valley and Lewis and Clark Volunteer Fire Department units responded, along with Lewis and Clark County sheriff’s deputies.
Shepherd believes the fire started in the living room, then spread onto the front deck. Firefighters were able to get it knocked down quickly.
Shepherd said neighbors had been concerned about the resident because she lived by herself. Firefighters found she had been able to escape and was in the backyard with her dog.
The woman went to St. Peter’s Health for observation because of the heavy smoke, but Shepherd said she had no apparent burn injuries. He said it was the best outcome they could have hoped for.
“No fires are good,” he said. “The house is gone; it can be replaced. She’s fine, but she very easily could have lost her life in the fire.”
The front half of the home was severely damaged. The back side had some smoke damage, but was still intact. Shepherd says the woman had a number of photos in those rooms that survived, and family members are going through them.
With winter coming, Shepherd urged residents who use heat tape and other heating appliances to check them and make sure they are in good condition and where they should be for the cold-weather season.