Early Sunday morning, fire crews were called to a vacant home on West Riverside Drive in Bonner for a structure fire.

Acting Battalion Chief Blaine Cowan with Missoula Rural Fire said crews from several agencies responded to the fire.

"We responded along with personnel from East Missoula/Piltzville fire department," Cowan said. "When we arrived on the scene, we found a small house that had a lot of smoke billowing out from the roof and the gables. In fact, there was a neighbor who was trying to help by spraying a garden hose into the open front window. Our guys did a fire attack, and within about 40 minutes, due to the construction of the home, we were able to knock the fire down."

Cowan said the home was unoccupied at the time of the fire.

":There had been no one living there for about the past month, and when the owner showed up, they said a renter was in the process of moving in, but hadn't been there for about a week. Investigators were on the scene trying to determine how the fire started, which caused a great deal of damage."

Acting Missoula Rural Fire Battalion Chief Blaine Cowan

Public Information Officer with the Missoula County Sheriff''s Office, Paige Pavalone said on Sunday afternoon, that the fire was definitely arson caused.

"Further investigation by detectives determined that there were accellerants in the house," Pavalone said. "Some paint was stolen, and there were some items that were left on top of the stove that basically started the fire, and then it spread throughout the residence. The structure was a complete loss. The detectives did determine that it was arson, and ther are seeking suspect information at this time."

Pavalone encourages anyone with information to come forward at call 9-1-1, or report anonymously by calling 5-Valley Crimestoppers at 721-44-44.

Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Paige Pavalone


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