GFFR responds to two residential fires

Great Falls Fire Rescue responded to two residential structure fires in the last week.

At 7:07 a.m. Sept 22, GFFR was dispatched to a chimney fire at 116 17th Ave. N.W.

Engine 2 arrived on scene first at 7:12 p.m. and firefighters saw smoke coming from the chimney and soffit.

When firefighters entered the house, there was light smoke and they evacuated all occupants from the house. Once the occupants exited, firefighters located the fire in the attic, according to GFFR.

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The fire caused minor damage to the attic and the cause was determined to be degraded chimney.

According to GFFR, the chimney had developed cracks over time and when a fire was started in the fireplace and traveled up the chimney flue, fire and heat escaped through the cracks into the attic.

GFFR is remining the public to have their chimneys cleaned and inspected to prevent similar fires.

At 5:57 a.m. Sept. 24, GFFR was dispatched to a duplex fire at 614 13th St. S.

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Engine 1 and Battalion 1 arrived on scene at 6:04 a.m. to find fire blowing out of the southeast corner of the duplex.

Battalion 1 stuck a second alarm, which called for two off-duty crews and an off-duty battalion chief to report for duty, according to GFFR.

Fire departments from Malmstrom Air Force Base and the Montana Air National Guard were requested to backfill GFFR’s stations until off-duty personnel arrived.

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The the first units arrived, they found an occupant attempting to fight the fire with a garden hose, according to GFFR.

Engine 1 firefighters began fighting the fire from the exterior of the south apartment and once that was partially knocked down, entered the apartment to search for occupants, according to GFFR.

At 6:07 a.m. crews reported that all occupants of the southside of the duplex were out and a few minutes later, another crew reported that everyone was also out of the north apartment, according to GFFR.

GFFR extinguished the main body of the fire at 6:16 a.m., then moved to the fire in the attic, which was extinguished at 6:51 a.m.

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The Great Falls Police Department said that the south apartment was supposed to be empty as the last known occupants were in the Cascade County Adult Detention Center, according to the city, but they had reports of squatters.

The fire caused extensive damage to the south apartment. The north apartment sustained smoke damage and minor damage to the ceiling from the attic fire, according to GFFR.

The American Red Cross was notified to provide assistance to the occupants of the north apartment.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, according to GFFR.