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Firefighters get double booked

By Karen Peterson            Valley Journal

RONAN – Ronan Fire Department Volunteers responded to a house fire involving life saving pets and a wreck where a camper was torn to pieces on the afternoon of Wednesday, Aug 1.

Police Chief Mark Clary said his team was divided up as they responded to the separate issues, which left them with smaller crews at each site. Emergency responders stepped in to help the firefighters when possible. Clary said Ronan Police Officers helped drag the fire hose during the fire, and other officers helped with the wreck. Retired firefighter and current Public Works Director Dan Miller also stepped in to help with the fire. 

The fire department responded to the house fire at 309 Third Ave. SE. Clary said the fire was concentrated in one room and most likely caused by an electrical problem. The hot 93-degree weather wasn’t considered a factor in the incident. 

The owner was at home sleeping when the fire broke out, and her cats started meowing to wake her up and alert her of the danger. “She opened the bedroom door and the house was full of smoke,” Clary said. “They saved her life.”

The crew worked for about an hour and a half to quickly knock the fire out. Clary said the people in the home were all safe, but the pets suffered smoke inhalation. Firefighters put an oxygen mask on one of the cats. The owner took her feline friends to a veterinarian, and they were reported to be in good health.

On U.S. Highway 93, the fire department responded to a wreck between a semi-truck and a motor home. Clary said the camper was traveling southbound near the intersection of Hwy. 212 near Ninepipe Wildlife Refuge when it crossed the centerline and sideswiped a semi truck traveling north. The female driver was seriously injured and taken to the hospital. The semi-truck driver was not injured. 

The camper portion of the motor home was smashed to pieces and the debris spread across the highway, blocking traffic for about an hour while crews cleaned it up. 

Clary said the wreck happened near the Montana Department of Transportation’s equipment site, so they brought out a front-end loader to help remove the wreckage. 

Clary said the afternoon’s emergencies were addressed via team effort from the fire department, police department, and ambulance crews. He added that the fire department could always use more volunteers, and encourages anyone interested to fill out an application, available online at: www.ronanfire.com, under join.

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