UPDATED: Two Die in Kalispell House Fire

By Beacon Staff

Authorities have identified the elderly married couple whose bodies were found after a house fire in Kalispell was extinguished.

Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry identified the victims as 74-year-old John Nelson and his 72-year-old wife Jacqueline “Jackie” Nelson.

Kalispell Police Chief Roger Nasset said the fire was reported at about 1:45 a.m. Wednesday, and fire crews from Kalispell and five surrounding areas responded. He said the blaze, which caused “extreme damage” to the two-story home, is still under investigation.

Dave Dedman, operations chief with the Kalispell Fire Department, said that investigators have not determined a cause or origin of the fire, and they have not found any evidence of smoke alarms or fire detectors in the home.

He said that firefighters took a defensive approach because the conditions were too hazardous for search operations.

“We had indications that people were inside, however, based on the conditions on arrival, no one would have been alive,” he said.

The couple’s bodies were found in an upstairs bedroom.

Neighbor Nate Horton, 38, said he had just gone to bed when he heard a strange sound coming from across the street.

“I actually thought it was a snow plow going by,” he said. “It was almost like a popping sound, and then kind of a rumble.”

Horton, who described the Nelsons as “very nice people,” said the whole neighborhood is in shock.

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