East Helena apartments destroyed in fire

East Helena Apartment Fire.jpg
Posted at 5:30 PM, Mar 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-19 01:10:31-04

EAST HELENA — A Thursday night fire destroyed an East Helena apartment building off Kalispell Ave and East Riggs St.

Brandon Marlowe lives in the area and shared with MTN how scary the fire was.

"It was frightening. I was shaking. I was having a really hard time breathing,” said Marlowe.

Fire crews arrived on the scene at around 8:50 PM Thursday night. At one point the fire was so hot it melted the siding on an adjacent building and forced the occupants out of their home. However, crews had it mostly contained within a half hour. They remained on scene into the night to watch for hot spots. All people made it safely out of the building with no injuries.

“It was extremely terrifying not knowing, you know, what to do. People were running around, in and out of the building. Some people were running back inside for things. It was just, you feel really helpless,” says neighbor Mercedes Blacker.

Agencies that responded to help East Helena Fire Department include East Valley, Eastgate, Montana City, Montana VA, and Tri-Lakes. In all, around 40 firefighters responded. The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation, but the fire did originate from one of the lower apartments.

The Albertsons on N. Montana Ave will collect donations, such as toiletries, to assist the families affected by the fire. If they receive more donations than needed, they will donate the remaining supply to area nonprofits who assist with individuals in transitional housing/have economic needs.