Missoula Rural Fire was called out at about 2:30 on Monday afternoon to a report of a residential structure fire at 1865 Nut Hatch Drive just off Cote Lane west of Missoula.

Assistant Chief Brent Christofferson said the modular wood home had smoke billowing out of the roof and the fire was threatening other nearby homes.

"We had 25 personnel and 13 different apparatus including support vehicles and engines and our aerial ladder," Christofferson said. "We also had help from the DNRC because the structure fire had started a grass fire which was spreading rapidly. They sent three engines and seven firefighters to the scene."

Christofferson said the person reporting the fire said there may have still been people inside, however, he was relieved to find the home was empty when firefighters arrived. He said the extreme heat also took a toll on firefighters and necessitated special safety protocols for the firefighters.

"It signifies how important it is to be physically fit when you're doing this job, " he said. "We had to make sure to rotate our firefighters out fairly often, as much as we could, to rehydrate them and not compromise their well being. It was a hard fought fire with temperatures in the low to mid 90's with their turnouts and [self-contained breathing apparatuses] and all their protective gear on, so it really takes it out of you."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and Christofferson did not have a financial estimate of the damage, although he said the structure was a total loss. The Red Cross is assisting the displaced family with shelter.

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