A camper trailer, a shed, and a two-car garage were already on fire when the Billings Fire Department arrived at Lake Elmo Drive early Tuesday morning to find downed, sparking, bouncing power lines further complicating their approach.
Shortly after the first engine got on scene the roof of a house caught fire.
"We encountered an incredible amount of fire on scene," Battalion Chief Darrek Mitchell said later on Tuesday morning.
The fire was reported on the 1700 block of Lake Elmo Drive at about 3:24 a.m and was extinguished about 45 minutes later. No injuries were reported. Multiple people were inside the house when the roof caught fire and they were able to exit safely.
The fire resulted in an estimated $350,000 in property and content losses, according to a Tuesday afternoon press release issued by Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Tatum. Property and contents affected by the fire are insured. The cause of the fire remained under investigation as of Tatum's press release, which was issued at about 3:20 p.m.
The downed power lines forced firefighters to take a defensive approach that included protecting a fence and garage of a residence to the north of the fire, according to the battalion chief. Heavy fire and smoke conditions were encountered at the rear of the burning home.
The power lines continued to be active and powered until about 4:08 a.m., Mitchell said. NorthWestern Energy secured the power lines, and Montana-Dakota Utilities took care of the gas, he said.
"Once we started getting a good knockdown on it, crews got in the interior of the residential structure and finished off the attic portion of it," Mitchell said.
Two dogs, a cat, and a pet guinea pig were rescued from the fire, according to the press release.
Before the fire was extinguished, it gutted the interior of the garage behind the home and spread into the house and attic space. The fire burned into living quarters of the home and through the roof, according to the press release.
Multiple engine companies and a truck company were all dispatched to the scene.