Accidental Fire Burns Columbia Falls Apartment Complex

Three firefighters treated for heat-related issues while battling blaze at nine-unit building on Fourth Ave. W

By Andy Viano

Firefighters from a handful of Northwest Montana agencies battled a raging fire in sweltering heat on Sunday, Aug. 2, taming a blaze that began accidentally at a nine-unit apartment complex near downtown Columbia Falls.

The apartment complex at 1711 Fourth Ave. W was an almost total loss, with all nine units suffering at least water and smoke damage. Columbia Falls Fire Chief Karl Weeks said his department responded to the fire a little after 2 p.m. and found heavy flames shooting out of the roof.

Mutual aid response to the fire came from Blankenship, Bad Rock, Evergreen and West Valley fire departments, along with Three Rivers EMS, the Columbia Falls Police Department and the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office.

Temperatures Sunday afternoon were in the mid-90s and three firefighters were treated for heat-related issues, Weeks said, with one of those firefighters sent to Kalispell Regional Medical Center for additional treatment. No update on their condition was available as of Aug. 3.

The precise cause of the fire is unknown but Weeks said it was accidental.

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