$50,000 Damage In Friday Night Missoula House Fire
It was providential that the 9-1-1 call for a residence fire came in just before six o'clock on Friday evening, since that's the time when the Missoula Fire department is going through their shift change.
Battalion Chief Derek Mullins said that due to the pending shift change, there were several more firefighters on hand to send to the fire at 105 Rimrock Way.
"Actually, a neighbor called in the fire just before six o'clock on Friday evening," Mullins said. "Normally, we have three people on an engine, but we were able to send four or five, which gave us more manpower and that helped a lot to keep the fire from spreading into the attic."
Mullins said when the crews arrived, they found smoke coming out of all sides of the house. They did a 360 degree walk-around and determined the extent of the fire, and that the home was unoccupied at the time the fire started.
"We gained entry through one of the rear sliding doors and we were able to get a pretty quick knock-down of the bulk of the fire," he said. "When other crews got there they established a line to the water supply. The fire actually started near the stove, and we were able to stop it from spreading up the vent system and into the attic."
Mullins said there were four engine companies and one ladder truck company, a battalion chief and a safety officer, for a total of about 18 firefighters.
"We're looking at about $50,000 of damage," he said. "Luckily, we were able to save most of their personal belongings. They'll have to wash some of their clothes from the smoke damage, but. other than that, all their personal belongings looked in good shape."
Mullins said the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but the source seemed to be in the kitchen.
The fire department released the following information from a prepared statement on Friday evening.
"Cooking fires are the primary cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Kitchen fires are most often caused by leaving cooking food unattended, placing combustibles too close to the heat source, and unintentionally turning on or not turning off the equipment. Never leave cooking food on the stovetop unattended, keep a close eye on food cooking in the oven, and keep cooking areas clean and clear of combustibles."