Longtime Nine Mile restaurant gutted by fire - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Longtime Nine Mile restaurant gutted by fire

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HUSON - A historic Nine Mile restaurant has gone up in flames.

“Oh it’s just devastating," said KJ's Nine Mile Steakhouse employee Hannah Feiler. "This place has been here for so long, and its just horrible to look at it, it just makes me sick. Its really sad.”

Feiler says the new ownership had opened just over a year ago. The owners were new, but the restaurant certainly was not.

The age of the building made fighting this fire difficult. The Frenchtown Rural Fire District arrived to find it fully-involved after it was called in about 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

“Really old building, its gone through several renovations, so with the age of the building and the renovations it proved pretty difficult last night," said Frenchtown Rural Fire District spokesman Mel Holtz. "We had five water tenders shuttling water through here, but it was going for quite some time before we got here.” 

Holtz says over 30 firefighters worked overnight and into the morning. They had assistance from East Missoula and Missoula Rural Fire District from firefighters, and the Missoula County Sheriff’s office helped by closing off highway 10 west in that area while crews worked.

Not only was this restaurant one of the few places locally where you could go to grab a meal, it was also a staple in the community where people gathered to celebrate holidays and special occasions together.

“Me and my wife had our wedding reception in there, as a lot of other folks did here," said area resident Ray Bennett. "It was, yeah, it was kind of a historical place although it is not the original Nine Mile House roadhouse, that’s across the street over where we live, but there’s a lot of memories in here ya know, not only mine but people in the valley, yeah.”

Crews spent Monday searching for hotspots and pouring water onto the structure. An excavator was used to dig through parts of the building where it was too hot for crews to enter on foot.

“I’m just glad nobody was hurt," Feiler said. "Everybody was gone for the evening, and that nobody was hurt. I’m really thankful for that. It is a very close-knit community, and it we would have lost anybody it would have been far more devastating than what we see now.” 

Investigators are still trying to figure out what started the fire.

A historic Nine Mile restaurant has gone up in flames.

Crews were called to the former Nine Mile Roadhouse -- now known as KJ's Ninemile Steakhouse -- at around 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, according to Frenchtown Rural Fire District spokesman Mel Holtz.

Holtz told MTN News that over 30 firefighters battled the blaze, including crews from the Missoula Rural Fire District and the East Missoula Rural Fire Department. A total of five fire tenders shuttled water to the scene as firefighters fought the fire.

Firefighters were still on the scene as of 6 a.m. on Monday overhauling the building searching for hotspots. The building is said to be a total loss. Highway 10, which had been closed due to the fire, has since been reopened.

We will have more information on this developing story as it becomes available.

- Information from Justine Stewart and August McDonnell included in this report.

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