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Casino employee, customer identified as Bridger fire victims

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Posted at 8:18 AM, Apr 21, 2022

BRIDGER - Authorities on Thursday released the names of two people who died in a Bridger casino fire.

Carbon County Sheriff Josh McQuillan said the victims were Marla Murray, 71, and John Ahles, 33. Murray was an employee of Honest Tom's Casino at the time of the fire Wednesday morning, and Ahles was a customer, the sheriff said. Both were from Bridger.

McQuillan said the two were pronounced deceased at the scene and autopsies are pending while the investigation is ongoing.

The fire broke out at about 9:30 a.m. Bridger Police Chief Mike Buechler said smoke was billowing out of the casino door when he arrived.

"I tried to yell in to see if anybody was in there," he said Wednesday afternoon. "Nobody answered me. I open the screen door trying to see in there. You can only see a couple of feet. I come back out. We got the fire department here as soon as possible, and they discovered two bodies.”

The fire is a joint investigation between the Bridger Police Department, Montana Division of Criminal Investigations, Montana State Fire Marshal's Office, and the Carbon County Sheriff's Office.

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