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Fire north of Polebridge heavily damages home

| December 30, 2022 1:25 PM

A home up Moose Creek about 10 miles north of Polebridge was heavily damaged, but not destroyed by a fire Thursday night.

Blankenship and Columbia Falls firefighters responded to the call at about 6:45 p.m. and were on scene about 8:11 p.m. after making the long drive to the fire.

Fortunately the homeowners and neighbors were able to keep the blaze somewhat in check with a garden hose and fire extinguishers until firefighters arrived, noted Blankenship Fire Chief Terry Wiegand.

All told, firefighters were on the scene until 12:45 p.m. No one was injured, other than being treated for smoke inhalation. The fire started near the chimney.

The two-story home had heavy damage on the upper floor, but the lower half, which was a shop with valuable equipment, was saved.

The family has a secondary cabin on site as well as a home in Columbia Falls, Wiegand noted.

Columbia Falls had nine firefighters respond with mutual aide and Blankenship had five firefighters.

This is the second major structure fire up the North Fork this winter. Another fire on Dec. 10 killed a man and his dog. Neighbors believe the victim in that fire was Douglas Barnes and his dog, Whiskey, though DNA results are still pending.

That fire burned the house to the ground. Polebridge doesn’t have its own fire department, so Blankenship and Columbia Falls respond. Problem is, the drive is often more than an hour, based on location.

Polebridge does have a donated fire truck, but the engine apparently needs some work and equipment like hoses to function properly. Also, there’s far fewer people living in the North Fork in the winter as opposed to the summer months.

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