Approximately five people were in and around mobile home number 55 around 3:00 a.m. Tuesday morning when a fire broke out at that location in the Hollywood Trailer Court on Cooley Street. According to Missoula Fire Department Assistant Fire Marshal Adam Sebastian the location of where the fire started is known, but they are still investigating the cause.

"The fire looks to have started on the exterior, on a couch that was next to the mobile home and a chain link fence," Sebastian said. "That couch then ignited the mobile home... it looks like people were in and out of the area all night. The fire progressed to the rear-end of the mobile home, it was able to penetrate the side of the unit and then make its way into the interior. There is indications form witness statements and components in and around the area that there was smoking debris on scene."

Fire fighters had to work fast to prevent the fire from spreading to other nearby units which Sebastian says were very close, he says the power lines began to “arc and spark” after the sheathing on the cables deteriorated. It’s possible much of the damage could have been prevented if some basic safety precautions had been taken.

"During circumstances and tragedies like this," Sebastian said. "We like to touch base and remind people of the importance of having working smoke detectors in their residences. Smoke detectors save lives... this particular residence did not have any working smoke detectors."

Sebastian says the cause of the fire does not appear to be malicious.  Of the five people who escaped the fire only one lived at the property and all were adults. The fire was so extensive that the home is considered a “total loss.”