Investigation Continues into Smith Valley Fire Station Arson

Local fire departments are holding a fundraiser on July 31 to raise money

By Justin Franz
Damage from a fire at the Smith Valley Fire Hall on July, 5, 2016. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Three weeks after someone torched the Smith Valley Fire Department’s station along Foys Lake Road the search continues for whomever was responsible for the blaze.

Meanwhile, local fire departments are holding a fundraiser on July 31 to raise money to help the Smith Valley department purchase new equipment to replace what was lost in the blaze.

According to Chief DC Haas, his firefighters were responding to a vehicle crash early July 3. When the firefighters arrived at the fire hall along Foys Lake Road they discovered that the backdoor had been broken in and a fire set inside.

Haas said the fire burned itself out because there wasn’t enough oxygen inside for it to continue. A Ford F350 rescue truck and an engine were lost in the blaze, as well as thousands of dollars worth of equipment.

Haas said the department has not yet begun repairs on the fire station. The rescue truck was a total loss but the fire engine will be rebuilt, although it is expected to take up to six months.

The Smith Valley Fire Department serves the area west of Kalispell. It has two firehouses, one along U.S. Highway 2 and a secondary location along Foys Lake Road.

Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry said the incident remains under investigation.

With Smith Valley’s secondary firehouse out of commission, Haas said his department’s resources have been stretched thin in recent weeks.

“Foys Lake is a busy place in the summer and now our guys have to go all the way to the main fire hall to get gear before they can respond to an incident in that area,” Haas said.

On July 31, local departments are holding a Firefighter Walk A Mile Fundraiser at Kalispell’s Legends Stadium to raise money for Smith Valley.

Firefighters and law enforcement officers will be taking pledges to walk a mile in full fire gear. Organizers are also selling t-shirts and all of the money raised will go to Smith Valley. The event starts at 3 p.m. and goes until 9 p.m. For more information visit www.booster.com/firefighter-walk-a-mile-for-smith-valley-fire-department. A Go Fund Me page has also been set up to receive donations and more information about that can be found at www.gofundme.com/svfdaux.

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