Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Fire destroys West Valley home

Daily Inter Lake | August 2, 2020 11:25 AM

A West Valley home on Birds Eye Trail was deemed a total loss after several crews put out a fire Saturday night.

Two adults and pets inside the home got out with no injuries reported, according to West Valley Fire and Rescue. One firefighter was taken to the hospital as part of standard procedures after part of the roof fell and hit his helmet.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene around 6:47 p.m. West Valley Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Sean Bohannan estimated the fire was knocked down in about 45 minutes. Mopping up the scene took significantly longer due to high temperatures and the potential dangers of the structure collapsing.

“The house didn’t completely burn down. All four walls were still standing, which makes it challenging to get into the structure to tear apart hot spots due to the ceiling or walls collapsing and the safety of firefighters,” Bohannan said. “It took us quite awhile to get it mopped up. I think we were done around 1 a.m. We were fighting the heat of the day, fatigue and trying to keep hydrated.”

Bohannan said the fire is under investigation.

“We working to determine if it was electrical or not,” he said. “We have a general idea of where the fire started — roughly in the kitchen area or possibly in the room below the kitchen.”

West Valley received assistance from South Kalispell, Evergreen, Smith Valley and Creston fire departments in putting out the blaze. With concerns about the flames spreading and causing grass/wildland fires, the Montana Department of Natural Resources brought in three fire engines to protect the area surrounding the residence.

Reporter Hilary Matheson may be reached at 758-4431 or hmatheson@dailyinterlake.com.