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Fire destroys northern half of Polson duplex

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POLSON — A Jan. 23 house fire at a duplex on Hillcrest Drive gutted the bedroom and caused heavy smoke damage to the northern half of the duplex, making it a total loss. The occupants’ cat died from smoke inhalation, but the family was able to escape unharmed. 

The blaze drew a crew of 21 rural and city firefighters after firemen were dispatched at 8:10 a.m. They arrived at 1112 Hillcrest to find smoke billowing out of the attic vents, from the open front door and around the edges of windows of the northern duplex. 

“The fire was quickly knocked down and extinguished, containing the flames to the front bedroom where it was determined that the fire started,” said Karen Sargeant, public information officer for the Polson Volunteer Fire Department in a press release.

She estimated damages to be approximately $120,000 and said the southern half of the duplex was undamaged.

After investigation, firefighters determined the fire was human caused and unintentional.

“The message we want to convey is adults need to keep all matches, lighters and other fire-starting material secured and unreachable to minors,” Sargeant said.

“We would also like to advise people when they are leaving (a building on fire), if they can do it safely, they should try to shut all doors as they exit. Shutting the doors can keep the flames and smoke isolated to the room where the fire started and will help keep the fire subdued until the fire department can get there and extinguish it.”

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