Fire in Whitehall destroys 3 buildings - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Fire in Whitehall destroys 3 buildings

Firefighters with the Whitehall Volunteer Fire Department arrive at a fire in Whitehall, Montana Friday. Courtesy: Danny Pecka Firefighters with the Whitehall Volunteer Fire Department arrive at a fire in Whitehall, Montana Friday. Courtesy: Danny Pecka
Firefighters battle a massive fire in Whitehall, Montana Friday. Courtesy: Danny Pecka Firefighters battle a massive fire in Whitehall, Montana Friday. Courtesy: Danny Pecka
Fire destroys 3 Whitehall, Montana businesses Friday. Courtesy: Danny Pecka Fire destroys 3 Whitehall, Montana businesses Friday. Courtesy: Danny Pecka
Fire engulfs a building in Whitehall, Montana Friday. Courtesy: Danny Pecka Fire engulfs a building in Whitehall, Montana Friday. Courtesy: Danny Pecka

WHITEHALL, Mont. -  Fire investigators say they plan on releasing the official cause of a fire that destroyed several businesses in Whitehall, Montana either today or tomorrow. That's according to State Fire Marshal Pat Clinch who says the Montana state attorney general's office is leading the investigation into the explosion and fire which rocked the town southeast of Missoula Friday afternoon.

The fire reportedly destroyed at least four businesses and damaged several others. Whitehall Mayor Terry Ross told local media outlets that the town is taking positive steps forward following the fire but that getting through this difficult time will be a challenge. According to town officials an emergency meeting was scheduled for 10:00am Tuesday to discuss steps moving forward for the town.

As of early Tuesday the area remained closed to traffic and firefighters were continuing to monitor the fire zone for potential hot spots. Five fire departments responded to the explosion and fire which most likely originated in the back corner of the Legion Street Grill or in the DD Tax Shop according to Whitehall Fire Chief Rick Strauss.

Owners of the Legion Street Grill said the restaurant was just starting to fill up with lunchtime customers when there was an explosion. There were 15 to 20 customers in the restaurant at the time of the explosion along with six employees, owner Gabi Hall said. No one was injured.

KHQ viewer Danny Pecka was driving back home to Spokane from Bozeman on Friday afternoon and passed through Whitehall during the fire shooting several pictures and video.

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