A cause of an explosion and fire that destroyed much of the Hoosier’s Motel in Cooke City on Thursday is undetermined.
Linda Miller, a spokeswoman for Yellowstone National Park, which aided in the call, said the park’s structure fire chief, Britton Gray, reported that the fire was not suspicious and its cause had not been determined.
Hoosier’s Motel and Bar is at 114 Main St. No one was injured in the blast and fire, officials said.
“The boom itself shook the whole town,” said Leo Gaertner, who owns Buns ‘n’ Beds, Deli, BBQ and Cabins.
“Nobody really knew at first what was going on.”
Residents ran to see what had happened, he said.
Yellowstone sent two engines and 12 employees to the fire, which was reported at 7:55 a.m.
The motel is a family business run by Marian Porter. Porter’s husband, Richard A. Porter, who was managing the motel when he died in 2002, built the motel in the 1960s in conjunction with Hoosier’s Bar & Cafe, which his grandparents started in the 1930s.
Greg Coleman, Park County deputy fire warden, who also responded, said it appears that there was a propane explosion in the laundry room, which had power and gas. The motel’s units had been shut down for the winter, he said.
Yellowstone responders took command when they arrived and connected their pumpers to the hydrants to help with fire mop-up, Coleman said.
Units attached to the laundry room burned to the ground, while some units in a neighboring building were severely damaged in the blast, Coleman said.
The business also has a bar.
“Everyone was concerned about the bar. The bar’s fine,” Coleman said.
The fire burned through a telephone and power line, cutting service to customers for much of the day.
Qwest spokeswoman Stephanie Walkenshaw said all services were restored on a temporary basis by about 6 p.m. More work is needed to return service to normal, she said.
Power, which was knocked out to about 60 members of the Flathead Electric Cooperative, was restored to all but the motel in about 4-1/2 hours, said Wendy Ostrom-Price, the co-op’s public relations officer.