A garage fire on Billings’ West End caused severe smoke damage to the home and caused fire damage to the siding of the home next door.
Firefighters were dispatched to 820 Aurora Drive Friday night around 6:45 p.m., said Billings Fire Battalion Chief Ed Regele. All occupants and their pets were able to safely exit the home.
“I haven’t been inside, but I’m certain there’s significant smoke damage,” Regele said. “Sounds like the fire was mostly kept to the garage.”
The cause of the fire and where the fire started is still under investigation, Regele said. A pickup in the garage was fully engulfed, and its fuel tank ruptured and started leaking. It took crews about an hour to completely extinguish the flames due to the gas reigniting the fire.
Aurora Drive was blocked for about two hours. Montana-Dakota Utilities arrived and shut off the gas and electricity to the house, Regele said.
Leah Anderson, a Domino’s Pizza delivery driver, was returning to the Grand Avenue store when she saw smoke and surrounding neighbors attempting to extinguish the home’s flames with garden hoses.
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Anderson served in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years, and quickly went into the house to help the homeowners evacuate. She, and others, were able to safely remove the occupants and their three dogs.
“I served as a Marine for four years. I learned you have to go in and get it handled and help your community,” Anderson said.
Jeremy Davidson lives in the house across the street from where the fire took place. Davidson and other neighbors ran outside after his daughter saw the fire. They helped remove pets from the home and helped the neighbors next door to evacuate as well.
“They’re really good neighbors and they keep a really nice home and property and it’s sad to see it in this state,” Davidson said.
Billings Fire Department, Billings Police Department and American Medical Response were on scene.