Posted: Jun 14, 2013 8:35 AM by Dan Cimmino - MTN Sports
MISSOULA - Dozens of people were without a home after fire broke out at an apartment complex on Thursday.
No one was hurt, but some residents were left with nothing after the fire gutted part of the Vantage Villa on East Broadway, which is owned by the Missoula Housing Authority.
Crews from the Missoula City Department and the Missoula Rural Fire District rushed to the complex after the blaze broke out on Thursday afternoon.
"We did call for a general alarm on this fire, which basically means that it's an all call for all of our firefighters," Missoula City Fire Chief Jason Diehl explained.
"Well, it's everybody's worst nightmare to have a fire in an occupied building," said Missoula Housing Director Lori Davidson.
"It appears the fire started on the second level and spread to the third level and then into the attic space where it really made a run," Diehl said.
A fire of this magnitude in an occupied facility means that some of the personal loss residences are now forced to endure is immeasurable, not to mention completely life changing.
"Well, I lost everything, 100%. Mine was the worst apartment. Everything I have is what I have on right now. I had pictures of 50 years that I'm never going to get back," resident Judy Loudermilk said.
"I think they are very understandably upset. These are their homes," Davidson observed.
While the damage is hard to imagine, and the cost is being added up, the silver lining from the devastation comes in the form of those brave rescue workers who reduced and managed what could've been a true catastrophe.
"The emergency responders have done a fantastic job. The fire department was here as quickly as they could get here," Davidson said.
"They did a good job, those firemen, they did a wonderful job," Loudermilk added.
"It's a little bit flying by the seat of your pants when it gets to that point, but it worked out good. The guys made a good stop," Diehl said.
"So this is bad that it happened, but everybody is okay from the apartments, so that's a blessing,' Loudermilk said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but one witness told us it started when a resident left a lit cigarette on a couch.