No one was hurt when a huge boulder crashed through the back of a house at 1313 Granite Ave. on Saturday afternoon.
A wet spot just below the top of the Rimrocks showed where a large slab of sandstone fell off the side of the Rims at around 1:20 p.m. It broke into dozens of pieces when it hit the earth below, and the largest piece slammed through the back of a rectangular brown wooden house owned by Jon Lodge.
“It made this horrendous roar,” said Lodge, who was inside at the time the rock crashed down. “I was in shock.”
Just 10 to 15 minutes before it happened, Lodge had been inside one of the bedrooms that the boulder demolished. Two hours before, guests had been in the destroyed guest bedroom.
He estimated that the boulder was 25 feet in diameter.
“I don’t think they’ll be able to get it out of there,” he said.
Lodge, known for his photography, and his wife, artist Jane Waggoner Deschner, have lived in the home for 14 years. Lodge said that until now, he had never had any problems with rocks coming off the Rims.
Billings firefighters and police responded to the house, checking for a possible gas leak. As they checked it out, Lodge stood in front of his house, holding a cell phone in one hand. Deschner is out of town, he said.
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When the rock came crashing down, Chris Scott was at the soccer field at Rocky Mountain College, helping get things ready for the soccer match between Central High and Belgrade.
“I heard this really loud noise, I almost thought it was thunder,” Scott said. “Then I turned to my left and saw this huge rock come down and a huge dust cloud shoot up everywhere. The dust cloud was bigger than the Rims.”
At first, Scott said, he thought a plane must have crashed into the Rims or there had been an explosion of some sort. Then he and a friend realized what had happened.
“The roof actually moved on the house,” he said.
Scott immediately called 911. His was the second call, the dispatcher told him.
“I was really hopeful no one was inside,” Scott said.
Terry Larson, a battalion chief with the Billings Fire Department, said the home is uninhabitable now and asked people to avoid the area where the rocks fell.
"That whole area is fairly unstable with the rocks still," he said. "So we're asking people to stay away from that area if they can."