(EAST HELENA) A fire forced the evacuation of the East Helena Man Store Friday morning.

The fire started around 9:30 a.m. at the store just off U.S. Highway 12. Troy Maness, chief of the East Helena Volunteer Fire Department, said firefighters arrived to find smoke coming out the front of the store. They were eventually able to determine the fire was in the attic.

Maness said employees were inside when the fire started. He said they smelled smoke, then immediately called 911, got out of the building and moved some nearby propane tanks that might have become dangerous.

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Debbie Schramm said she comes to the Man Store every day to buy lottery tickets.

“I turned the corner, and I see the smoke and the gentleman out with a hose hosing down the front awning,” she said.

Schramm also kept the owners’ dog in her truck while firefighters got the flames under control.

Maness said they can’t yet determine how substantial the damage was, but that he’s hopeful they were able to limit it. He praised the employees for taking the right actions.

“It definitely could have been a lot worse,” he said. “Early detection, early notification definitely helped get this fire out in a hurry.”

Firefighters from other local departments, including East Valley, Tri-Lakes, Montana City and Fort Harrison assisted during the incident.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Original post, 10:00 a.m.

HELENA:  Fire crews from across the Helena Valley have been called to a reported structure fire in East Helena.

A fire broke out in the Man Store at 200 S. Montana around 9:30 Friday morning.

Some light smoke could be seen from the roof of the building.

Firefighters from East Valley, Montana City, Fort Harrison responded to the fire. Montana Ave. has been closed at Highway 12 to allow crews to work.

MTN has a reporter on scene and will update you when we know more.