A young girl owes her life to her older sister today, after helping to evacuate their mobile home in Westview Park that was totally destroyed by fire on Saturday afternoon.

Missoula Rural Fire Battalion Chief Rob Lubke said the call came in at about 3:30 on Saturday afternoon.

“The initial call indicated that fire was inside the building and there were possibly children still inside the structure as well,” said Chief Lubke. “Fortunately, the children all evacuated prior to arrival and actually went to the neighbor's house who was initially reporting the fire. It appears that the fire may have started in the kitchen at the time; that's still under investigation, and there were no injuries reported to any of the occupants or any firefighters that responded.”

Lubke described what firefighters found when they arrived at the mobile home.

“When the first engine arrived, they observed that it was a double wide mobile home and it was fully involved,” he said. “Crews had to operate defensively to protect other buildings nearby and they just couldn't get inside anyways because of the amount of fire that was there.”

Lubke then praised the oldest child in the home for her quick action in saving her little sister’s life.

“It sounds like the oldest child was about 14 or 15 years old, smelled something burning, went to the kitchen, tried to extinguish it with a small household fire extinguisher and was unable to and then got her younger sibling who was home with her out,” he said. “Initially we were told there were five kids in the trailer, but it turned out later we discovered there were three and one of them actually was not home at the time, in that he was at a friend's house, but the older sister got the younger sister out of the house and probably saved her life.”

Lubke said assistance also came from Missoula City Fire, the Missoula County Sheriff's Office and Northwestern Energy.

He said the family's home and belongings were destroyed, and they are temporarily staying with relatives, with assistance from the Missoula Red Cross.

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