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Fire at Iron Front Building displaces residents

Iron Front Hotel fire
Posted at 12:31 AM, Aug 15, 2023

HELENA — Dozens of residents have been displaced following a fire at the historic Iron Front Hotel Building in Helena on August 14.

Fire crews were dispatched to the 400 block of N. Last Chance Gulch around 9:50 p.m. Monday for a structure fire.

People in the area told MTN they saw smoke billowing out of the east side of the building by the Holter Museum of Art.

Helena Fire Chief Jon Campbell said once firefighters arrived, they discovered the fire burning in some void spaces between the second and third floors.

Iron Front Hotel fire

Crews from the City of Helena, Montana City, the VA, West Valley, and East Valley. Helena Police and St. Peter’s Ambulance also responded for assistance.

Campbell said crews were able to have the fire under control by 11:00 p.m. on Monday, and firefighters continued to work through the night searching for any other potential issues.

“Preliminary estimates are roughly 30 residents displaced. Red Cross has been contacted and they'll be tending to those individuals' needs,” said Campbell. “Fortunately, we have favorable weather this evening and it's not 2 a.m. 40 below and hopefully we'll be able to address the needs of anyone who’s been displaced.”

There were no initial reported injuries associated with the fire and the cause is still under investigation.

Iron Front Hotel Fire

The Iron Front Hotel was built in 1888 and has since been converted into a mixed-use building with residences and shops.

Campbell noted older buildings like the Iron Front can pose challenges to fire crews such as utilities and spaces that have been reconfigured over the years.

“It can present challenges with void spaces where fire can creep and grow and find areas for growth that are difficult to access,” Campbell explained. “They can be challenging for hose deployment and delivering water to the scene of the fire and getting control of it.”