HAVRE - The fire that destroyed Big Equipment Company in Havre is still smoldering days later.
According to the Havre Fire Department, the cause of the fire is unknown and residents are devastated by the loss of the business.
Crews battled the Christmas Eve fire for over 12 hours.
“It was a big black cloud and it burned for a long time,” rancher Pete Kuhr said.
Fire crews responded to a call from Big Equipment Company around 2:15 p.m. on Sunday.
“It was a really big scene with limited manpower,” Havre firefighter Dylan Braach said.
Witnesses said flames could be seen from miles away.
“The call came in and I stepped outside and I could imagine it could be seen from 20 miles,” Havre Assistant Fire Chief Kelly Jones said.
The Havre Fire Department had to call for backup and find a way to transport water to the scene as the fire was outside of city limits.
Community members are concerned for Big Equipment Company and its employees.
“Obviously there’s a huge loss out there," Jones said. "I can’t even imagine how much in equipment and supplies and tools and everything they lost."
Kuhr said that he feels bad for everyone and is concerned for the employees.
“It was such black smoke and such a pillar of smoke," he said. "I assumed it had to be a lot of hydrocarbons, fuel and tires and something. I don’t know what started it or what happened and I don’t know the loss but it had to be significant."
The fire department said the investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.
They do not believe there is any foul play involved.
The company posted this message on Facebook on Sunday evening: "Big Equipment Company caught fire today. The damage done is extreme. We ask for prayers for us and all our employees. Sad Christmas for all of us."
On Monday morning, they shared the following information:
Big Equipment Company will continue and move forward. We have insurance to cover our employees wages for a number of months. We also have insurance to cover our losses. We will be in contact with all of our employees in the near future. We would like to thank all of the first responders and all that have reached out to us during this difficult time.