Iron Front residents appreciative of first responders, but questions remain

Iron Front Building fire leaves residents in question
Posted at 8:46 AM, Aug 16, 2023

HELENA — The historic Iron Front Building remains evacuated and businesses in the building are closed after a fire broke out on Monday around 9:50 pm. The Helena Fire Department estimated around 30 residents were displaced following the fire between the second and third floor. Crews were called to the building, on the 400 block of Last Chance Gulch just before 10 pm.

Helena Fire Chief Jon Campbell told MTN Monday night that they suspect the fire may have been caused by faulty wiring in the building. Crews had the fire under control by 11:00 p.m. and no injures were reported.

MTN spoke with Ryan Wilson, a resident of the building, who says he appreciates the fire department's quick response, and their help in evaluating safely.

“The police responded in, the firemen responded and they were here within 5 minutes. That's probably what saved the building. We're really seeing that they were just right on the job and all the residents at that point were ordered to get out, evacuate the building. All residents did make it out safely,” said Wilson.

When the fire was active on Monday night, first respondents and other residents made sure everyone was evacuated from the apartment building and the source of the fire was extinguished.

"A gentleman who has COPD and other health issues, can't really walk too well. He's on oxygen. We as a group, and the firefighters, were able to get him and all of his equipment out quickly and safely," said Wilson.

Wilson also mentioned that representatives from the Red Cross also arrived and gave all the residence a place to stay while their building gets repaired.

"The Red Cross has been just fantastic. You know, everything they've done is fantastic as the police and is fantastic as the firefighters. I'm grateful very much so. And last night, all residents were put up at Super 8 Motel. Now, I believe we will be put up in the Gods Assembly Church," said Wilson.

Campbell mentioned that he's unsure when the building will be available for residents to enter once again while repars are being done from smoke, water and fire damage from the incident.