2 hurt in Saturday house fire

Three dogs perish, house a total loss
Thursday, April 1, 2021
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Columbus fire crews work to extinguish flames at a home just outside of Columbus early Saturday morning. A cause has not yet been determined. (Photo by Columbus Fire Chief Rich Cowger)

Two people suffered minor burns, cuts and scrapes in an early morning house fire just outside of Columbus.

A total of five people were “displaced” by the fire — three who were sleeping at the house at 4593 Highway 78, and two people who were in a camp trailer beside the house, said Columbus Fire Chief Rich Cowger.

One of the two people injured was a woman who went back inside the house for her father, said Cowger. The father and daughter then had to escape by crawling out of a bedroom window. Three dogs were also apparently killed in the fire, said Cowger.

Cowger said the cause of the fire is currently undetermined and that the home and contents “are a total loss.”

The fire was reported at 1:38 a.m. through a 911 call by a man who gave an address that dispatch had a hard time understanding. A woman at the house took over the call who was “hysterically screaming,” according to Stillwater County Sheriff ’s Office dispatch records.

Columbus Fire Rescue, deputies and Columbus police responded to 4593 Highway 78, and requested assistance from Absarokee fire. NorthWestern Energy was contacted at 1:51 a.m. due to a power line that was located close to the home.

At 2:06 a.m., Columbus Fire Chief Rich Cowger put out a call for additional help.

At 2:14 a.m., Deputy Cactus Anderson requested dispatch to advise the Stillwater Billings Clinic of an incoming patient with second and possibly third degree burns on her back and on both arms. That patient was transported to the hospital by a Columbus police officer, according to dispatch records.

At 2:28 p.m., a Columbus police officer advised dispatch he was going home to see if he could “round up some shoes” and other items for the victims of the house fire.

At 3:32 p.m., CFR and Absarokee crews had most of the fire knocked down. Crews cleared from the scene at 6:34 a.m., but were called back at 7:22 a.m. when a shed on the west side of the house began to smolder. Fire crews once again cleared the scene at 8:52 a.m.