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Families lose home in duplex fire

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RONAN – Two Ronan families lost everything in a duplex fire Jan. 14. 

Ronan Fire Chief Mark Clary said it is believed the blaze started around 11:30 a.m. on the porch of a housing unit at 34132 Loolee Drive from a heater that was left near a couch to keep a pet warm. A man who was at home in the adjoining unit with an infant tried to put the blaze out with an extinguisher, but it was no use 

“It’s a total loss,” Clary said. “The fire got up into the attic area. It ran along the attic into the other part of the duplex.” 

Clary said he has seen many fires completely destroy structures because people are trying to keep their beloved critters warm. 

“Either the pet will knock it over and or it will fall on its own,” Clary said. “Couches and stuff like that are petroleum based. It’s hard to get that kind of stuff put out.” 

The firefighting was made more difficult by deep snow that surrounded the property. Firefighters struggled to drag fans and hoses through the frozen powder, and were additionally short-staffed. Polson Fire Department provided mutual aid. 

Community members stepped up to help the two families impacted by the blaze. Items were being collected for a single mother and her 15-year-old daughter. The duo lost everything, including a brand new washer and dryer. 

Clothing needed includes size 10-11 pants and XL shirts for the mother. Her daughter wears size 2 pants and small shirts. 

The other family impacted included a wounded veteran who is currently attending Salish Kootenai College, his wife, and their three-year-old son. Beds, dressers, dish towels, and all other household items were lost in the blaze. 

Size 38 pants, 2XL shirts and size 12 shoes are being accepted for the father. The mother wears size 28 pants, large T-shirts, and size 9.5 shoes. The toddler wears 5T clothing and children’s size 12 shoes. Drop-off locations were being organized. Call (406) 270-3447 for more information. 



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