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Owners of Belgrade car wash respond to arson investigation

Investigators are still looking for a suspect
Posted at 12:18 PM, May 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-21 14:28:23-04

BELGRADE — Earlier this week, MTN News reported a car wash off of Jackrabbit Lane in Belgrade caught fire, resulting in multiple agencies responding to the call early Sunday morning.

The Central Valley Fire District has ruled arson as the cause of the fire.

“It was a huge part of our life. All of our friends and family knew that we were the car wash family. And we all worked in it together.”

The Rocky Mountain Car Wash was slated to open in early June, but a fire that is now being investigated as arson has set this family business way back.

The car wash is a family-owned business operating out of Wyoming and Montana for the last 20 years.

“I would say like all the words to describe would be disturbing, disgusting, and sad,” said Taylor Webb, chief of operations at the car wash.

Webb remembers spending childhood at the car wash with her brother, learning the importance of hard work.

“It was a huge part of our life. All of our friends and family knew that we were the car wash family. And we all worked in it together,” said Webb.

This is why the fire that destroyed their nearly completed car wash hit hard.

“Pulling up to the scene was really difficult because at first, we couldn’t really look at it. My dad actually said, you know, I actually had to close my eyes, reopen them.”

A report from the Central Valley Fire District said the fire was reported around 3:30 am on Sunday and under control within about an hour.

While there were no reported injuries as a result of the fire, the report indicates evidence suggests the destruction was intentional.

“It was the only area of the building where there was any combustible materials. It didn’t have electric service. It didn’t have gas service. So that leads us to the conclusion that this had assistance in the ignition,” said Central Valley Fire District Fire Marshal Bruce Hennequin.

The report stated evidence showed an unknown individual entered the mechanical room in the car wash, where the fire was ignited and the suspect fled.

The Central Valley Fire District said the specific cause of the fire remains under investigation, which also involves the Belgrade Police Department.

“We are conducting a criminal investigation. The investigation has been opened. So we’re following leads, tips, conducting interviews, evaluating evidence, and so forth,” said Dustin Lensing, Captain with Belgrade PD.

As for the family at Rocky Mountain Car Wash, they say yes, they’ve been knocked down. But they’re coming back even stronger.

“When this happened, it was like the wind got taken out from our sales, right? But the community outreach has just kept giving us positivity to just keep going forward. And that helps you get back and going,” said Webb.

According to the Central Valley Fire District's report, the property loss is estimated at $750,000.

Anyone with information about the fire at the Rocky Mountain Car Wash Fire is asked to contact the Belgrade Police Department at (406) 388-4262.

Rocky Mountain Car Wash said the best way to help them through this difficult time - is to come to visit once they open in six to nine months.