Oscar's Park fire ruled accidental

2014-04-16T10:30:00Z 2014-04-16T16:45:07Z Oscar's Park fire ruled accidentalBy CHRIS CIOFFI ccioffi@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

A fire that burned the roof of the general store building at Oscar's Park on Sunday has been ruled accidental. 

The fire was caused by a smoldering piece of cellulose insulation, said Deputy Fire Marshal Jeff McCullough.

One of the people working on the building was running a piece of PVC pipe and cut several holes with a large, circular drill bit. He was going through some wood and up to the ceiling, which had drywall, McCullough said.

The building was being restored by owner Marcie Limpp and her husband for their daughter and granddaughter.

"He did it for a very long time, and did quite a bit of it," McCullough said. "Smoldering took place for a while, before the fire took off."

By the time crews arrived, there were flames up the front facade of the building, which is on the park property at 3740 Wise Lane.

Fire crews responded to the blaze Sunday at 7:06 p.m., said Battalion Chief Boyd Vopel.

Four engines, one truck and two tender trucks along with the battalion chief were able to knock the fire down in about an hour. Vopel said the big response was due to a lack of fire hydrants in the area.

The general store and several other buildings on the property had been collected from towns all over Montana by Limpp’s father, Oscar Cooke, who died in 1995. The general store was moved to the property in the 1970s from Nibbe, a town near Pompeys Pillar, she said.

The building did not have utility service. A significant number of antiques were in the building at the time of the blaze, but many were spared, McCullough said.

No one was on the property at the time except for one animal, said Marcie Limpp.

A donkey named Crackles, an Easter present to Limpp's granddaughter, was able to get to the back of his corral and was unharmed. 

While Limpp was disappointed that the structure was burned, she said it could have been worse. 

"Thank God it's only one building, and thank God no people or animals were hurt," she said. 

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