Missoula homeowner Russ Beelan, had a disturbing wake-up call this morning, January 29, when he was greeted by the smell of his own home burning.

"I woke up this morning, dogs are barking, it seemed kind of strange... all of the sudden I hear then the fire alarms go off." Beelan said. "I opened up my bedroom door, it was engulfed in smoke outside there. I closed the door immediately and got my wife and dogs out."

Beelan then ran to his brother's window and knocked on it to get him out safely. The brother was able to escape through the front door, but there was little hope of saving the home or getting the fire out without help.

"I tried to dump a bunch of water, as much as I could, on everything I could, but it just wasn't happening," Beelan said.

Missoula fire department received a call at around 6:00 a.m. and made it to the blaze at 2150 Fairview Street in minutes. By the time they arrived, though, the home was gushing flames from the front and side of the home.

Beelan says a cat and a chinchilla likely died in the fire, but there were no injuries to any people or to Beelan's dogs.

By 10:30 Beelan and his wife were sorting through a pile of items rescued from the home while firefighters were putting out smouldering insulation.

The fire department estimates the damage to the property at over $10,000.


Photo courtesy of Peter Christian