Early Morning Fire Off Russell Consumes Trailer – Possible Meth House
The Missoula Fire Department was called out early Wednesday morning to a report of a mobile home fire in the Hollywood Trailer Park just off Russell Street.
Battalion Chief Rick Pechta said he was able to see the thick column of black smoke from the fire station.
"We sent three engines and a ladder truck as well as myself, an ambulance and several PD officers," Pechta said. "I also requested station three to respond with us. The first engine on scene reported a single wide trailer fully involved. Reports were that everyone had been evacuated, but we could not confirm that. It wasn't until we calmed the fire down that we were able to confirm that no one was inside."
Pechta said he received important information from the police department on scene.
"It was very hazardous," he said. "Reports were from city PD on scene that it was a meth house, so we had a hazardous environment, so everyone was told to stay on air (oxygen) as long as possible. We kept bystanders back away from the scene, not knowing what we might find. By the time we did get in most of the floor had burned through. Investigators are still on scene, and the trailer was a total loss."
Pechta said police officers confirmed that they had visited the trailer several times in the past week.
"We took all the precautions that that was what we were dealing with," he said. "We told the neighbors to stay inside and keep their windows and doors closed just for respiratory protection. We don't know exactly what was there, but we tried to take every precaution to prevent exposure to what might have been there."
Pechta said the quick response helped firefighters keep other trailers nearby from being engulfed by the flames.
"We were able to pull a second line to get in between the two trailers," he said. "This was right on Russell at trailer number 66. Number 65 was threatened. We were able to get a line in between and protect that other trailer. The only damage was windows broken out due to the heat."
Pechta said investigators from the fire and police departments remain on scene.