UPDATE: 2.19.20 - 10 p.m.
The two house fires that broke out in Polson on Wednesday were not put out until around 1 p.m.
According to the Polson City Fire both houses are inhabitable and are considered a total loss.
An additional house also reported damages but they were minor comparatively to the two that burned down.
Both home owners were able to safely evacuate with no injuries.
(first report: 2.19.20 - 4:30 p.m.)
Fire broke out in a Polson home early Wednesday morningand the flames spread to a neighboring home causing extensive damage.
Calls began coming into Polson 911 dispatchers reporting multiple house fires on Fifth Street shortly before 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
One of those calls came from over half-a-mile away.
“My husband actually saw the flames from up our house over there by the middle school,” Polson resident Tori Silva recalled. “We could see the tops of the flames from our house, from our front porch, and he called 911.”
When fire crews showed up, two homes on the 500 block of Third Street were fully in flames with another home receiving lesser damage.
Rud Knudsen and, whose home of 40 years was severely damaged, says he and his wife made it out safely. So did their next-door neighbor who was in the home where the fire started.
Polson Fire Department spokeswoman Jodi O’Sullivan says they are working on getting help for those affected by the fires.
“I know one home is probably going to be a total loss, and then there will be damages on the extension, as well. So, we’re going to continue to investigate,” O’Sullivan said. “And we’ve reached out to the Red Cross to assist the residents and provide services to them as needed.”
Despite the fire gutting much of his home, Knudsen, a local pastor and piano tuner, remains in good spirits. He said he doesn’t have homeowners insurance, but plans on finding a way to restore the damage and move back in.
With early morning cold temperatures and a recent snowfall, one neighbor did express concern about the time it took for the fire department to arrive at the scene.
But O’Sullivan says crews from Polson and other departments -- including Ronan and Finley Point -- worked as team to get to the fire as quickly as possible,
“I’m not aware of any specific delays. Of course with the weather conditions, that does play into it a little bit in terms of being able to respond,” O’Sullivan explained.
“Usually, immediately upon having a working structure fire, we will call for mutual aid just to bulk up our response priorities, so we’re very grateful they were able to come and help.”
O’Sullivan told MTN News that there were no injuries as a result of the fires.