Investigation continues into cause of Big Timber fire at abandon - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT


Investigation continues into cause of Big Timber fire at abandoned school

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BIG TIMBER - Big Timber volunteer firefighters were mopping up hot spots about 12:30 p.m. inside the old school building that was engulfed early Friday morning.

An investigator from the Montana State Fire Marshal's office is on scene and conducting the initial investigation into the cause of the blaze.

Big Timber Fire Chief Kris Novotny said the investigation is in the preliminary stages and that it is not safe for investigators to enter the shell of the building.

The roof has collapsed on the majority of the three-story brick building that has been vacant for years.

Chief Novotny said the adjacent Carnegie Public Library and nearby homes took in some smoke but otherwise were not damaged by the fire.


BIG TIMBER - A fire that engulfed the former Sweet Grass County High School early Friday morning is under investigation. 

According to Sweet Grass County 911 Coordinator Brooke Osen, the fire was reported at 1:10 a.m. and fire crews had it contained by 6 a.m.

Osen said crews will continue to attempt access into the building and extinguish hot spots, but due to the size and structure of the old high school entry is difficult. 

“We are not going to put personnel inside of the building at this time due to safety concerns," said Big Timber Fire Chief Kris Novotny. 

The investigation will be conducted by the Montana State Fire Marshal. 

Evacuations were ordered for homes within a one block radius of the fire. As of Friday morning, all evacuations were lifted except for two neighboring homes. 

Approximately 25 firefighters with the Big Timber Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene, along with personnel from the Sweet Grass County Ambulance, Northwestern Energy, the City of Big Timber and Triangle Telephone. 

The old high school was established in 1905 and closed in 1982 when the current high school was opened.


Firefighters were battling a blaze early Friday at the old high school in Big Timber.

The fire was threatening nearby buildings, including a library.

The building has been vacant for several decades. A smaller fire hit the building in 2015.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

Photos: Big Timber Buzz

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