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Museum barn burns to ground

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POLSON — A massive fire tore through a large old wooden barn on Friday morning at a popular family museum just south of Polson, sending smoke over the area.

Firefighters from multiple agencies, including Polson Rural Fire, Polson City Fire and Chief Cliff Volunteer Fire Department, responded shortly after 9 a.m. At the Miracle of America Museum, the barn and a smaller outbuilding were completely engulfed in flames.

Law enforcement agencies blocked off the entrance to nearby Walmart for more than two hours as crews ran fire hoses from the closest fire hydrant, located at the south end of the parking lot about a quarter of a mile away.

The barn was part of the museum’s agricultural display. Unique agricultural-related artifacts and antiques were destroyed in the fire. Museum curator Gil Mangels explained to a local television news crew that he was burning dandelion fluff in the area when a spark caught the siding of one of the buildings on fire.

No injuries were reported in the incident and an estimated total cost of damage has yet to be determined.

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