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Fire destroys historic Glendive hotel

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Posted at 10:07 AM, Oct 25, 2023

GLENDIVE - Flames destroyed the historic Jordan Inn in Glendive late Tuesday.

The fire was reported at the structure at 223 N. Merrill Ave. at about 10 p.m., and many residents and fire departments from surrounding areas rushed to the scene to help out.

Food truck owner Nic Smelser was one of those quickly on scene, after seeing the fire on a community Facebook page.

Jordan Inn Fire

"It was just enormous," Smelser said of the flames. "I kept saying, 'Oh my god.' I don't even know how many times I said it."

Without hesitation, Smelser quickly loaded up her food truck and rushed to the scene. She arrived just after midnight and was preparing food for the first responders until 4 a.m.

"I slept for about two hours this morning," Smelser said. "Definitely a long night, but first responders are very dear to my heart. It was a no brainer for me."

Fortunately, Smelser had some help. Lacey Newton helps her with the truck on a regular basis. She worked side-by-side with Smelser preparing food early into the morning.

"As soon as she said she was going down there, I was like, 'Well, I'll get dressed and head down,'" Newton said. "The flames were huge. I mean you could almost feel the warmth and we were 200 yards away from the fire."

Smelser and Newton making food

Smelser and Newton said they weren't the only community members helping out. Businesses opened their doors to the first responders and many others arrived on scene to see how they could assist.

"It's inspiring and it's really moving how willing everyone was to help out," Newton said. "It was beautiful."

The building has been closed for 10 years after being closed down due to multiple health concerns, but both Smelser and Newton said that it is an important building to many in the community.

"I can respect the history and it really is sad to see it up in flames," Smelser said.

Old Picture of the Jordan Hotel

"It is sad because it did mean so much to so many people," Newton said.

With flames still being monitored late Wednesday afternoon, the cause of the blaze remains under investigation. A similar fire struck the eastern Montana town last year when flames destroyed the historic Ponderosa building on Bell Street.

And now another local landmark is gone, but Smelser woke up grateful that she lives in a town where others are always willing to lend a hand.

"It's unreal how amazing this community is," Smelser said. "It's really special."