On Tuesday afternoon, Missoula Rural Fire crews were called to respond to what was thought to be a car fire, but turned out to be much more.

Assistant Fire Chief Brent Christofferson was on the scene and provided this report.

“We had several reports of what thought was a vehicle fire near the Rustic Road and Woodhill Court area in Bonner yesterday (Tuesday) at about 3:20 p.m.,” said Christofferson. “It did turn out to be a vehicle fire and there was a vehicle that was well involved with fire, but that vehicle was real close to the structure, so we upgraded the response to a structure fire.”

Christofferson described the response to the fire.

“We had two MRFD engines, two water tenders and two command vehicles,” he said. “We were also assisted by the Clinton Rural Fire District, and we also had the assistance of the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, Missoula Emergency services and Northwestern Energy.”

Christofferson described what the crews found when they arrived.

“The first arriving engine found that the vehicle was fully involved in fire and they got it under control quickly, then upon further investigation they found that there was also a fire inside the single family home and we were able to put that fire out, too,” he said. “There were people at home when the fire started, including children, and all were safely evacuated from the home and there were no injuries to either civilians or to firefighters.”

Christofferson said there were some disturbing aspects to this fire.

“We’re still in the process of investigating the cause of the fires and they do appear to be suspicious in nature,” he said. “Investigators from MRFD and the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office are looking into the cause of the fire.”

The East Missoula Fire Department helped MRFD by covering their response area, in Bonner, as firefighters were busy battling the fires on Connolly Loop.