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Fatal house fire being investigated for arson

by CHRIS PETERSON
Hungry Horse News | November 15, 2021 9:18 AM

Two men died in a massive house fire Sunday near Columbia Falls that is now being investigated by an arson team.

The names of the victims have not yet been released.

The fire broke out shortly after 10 a.m., authorities said. Firefighters from Columbia Falls, with mutual aid from West Valley, Evergreen and Bad Rock fire departments, battled the fully engulfed two-story structure at the intersection of Hodgson Road and 8X Lazy K Road.

"Upon arrival deputies saw the residential structure was fully engulfed in flames," Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino said in a press release Monday. "As fire units dealt with the fire, deputies interviewed witnesses and determined two males did not make it out of the residence and were deceased. The witnesses indicated they heard an explosion just prior to the structure being engulfed in flames."

Once the fire was put out, the scene was secured and an arson investigation team responded to process the scene.

Four people reportedly lived in the house — a couple and their elderly parents, according to neighbors. Neighbors said they could hear screaming and a woman reportedly jumped out of the second-story window to escape the blaze.

Flathead County Sheriff's deputies were on the scene, and the Montana Highway Patrol set up a road closure as crews fought the fire.