Investigators with Missoula Rural Fire District are asking for the public’s help in determining the actual cause of the fire that destroyed the house, garage and storage shed on Zaugg Drive on Saturday in Bonner-West Riverside.

Chief Chris Newman described the blaze after it was first reported.

“At about 3:15 p.m. on Saturday our crews were called to a structure fire with potential victims inside,” Newman began. “When the first engine arrived they were notified that everyone was safely out of the structure. The garage and a good portion of the home at that point were fully involved with fire.”

Newman said there were many factors that added to the difficulty of fighting the fire.

“There was a lack of personnel initially in those first couple of minutes,” he said. “The water supply was a factor, I believe the closest hydrant was nearly a mile away and there were some difficult access issues the crews faced, as well.”
Newman said investigators have hit some stumbling blocks in determining the actual cause of the fire.

“They’ve narrowed down the area of origin of the fire, but they’re asking the public if anyone who has not come forward already would please come forward and call our investigators at 549-6172,” he said. “There seem to be some things that our investigators say just don’t seem to be adding up. We’re trying to piece together the statements from witnesses along with the evidence our investigators have found. Nothing has been confirmed right now, we’re just looking for more facts.”

Newman did not have an estimate of the damage to the structure, but the home, garage and storage shed were all burned.

Anyone with more information is asked to call Missoula Rural Fire at 549-6172.