Belgrade residents lose pets, possessions, to devastating house - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Belgrade residents lose pets, possessions, to devastating house fire

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A weekend house fire robs everything from two young Belgrade residents, including the lives of three of their pets.

Jesscy Zimmerman, the caretaker and former resident of the home on Springhill Road, says when she got there around 3 a.m., the house was engulfed with flames.

“Flames everywhere, that’s all we saw,” Zimmerman said.

20-year-old Alex DeBolt was woken up by his dog, May, around 2:30 in the morning Saturday, and opened his bedroom door to find flames and smoke. His roommate, 26-year-old April Hasselhuhn, was not home at the time of the fire.

DeBolt pushed May out the window and attempted to save the three other pets: a Chihuahua, a calico cat and a bearded dragon.

The flames were too much and DeBolt had to escape out the window.

The three animals and all of DeBolt and Hasselhuhn’s possessions had burned.

“Complete devastation,” Zimmerman said. “They lost everything that they own, luckily Alex who was here sleeping at the time was able to get out, but everything else but that and May is gone.”

Fire investigators say the fire had likely been burning a while before DeBolt woke up.

"It's a somber experience, it really is, when you know that these folks are young and they've lost everything they have, including some pets,” said Bruce Hennequin, Central Valley Fire Marshal.

Hennequin says they still do not know what started the fire, but it’s under investigation.

In the meantime, Hennequin urges people to check their home for fire safety, especially in anticipation of winter.

"Most importantly, have your smoke alarms in your house. Make sure they're working, make sure you have enough. The recommendation is inside and outside of every sleeping area and on every level of the home."

Hennequin says to store fuels away from wood or fossil fuel burning stoves, and to check your chimney is clear.

Also take caution with electric blankets and space heaters.

Zimmerman started a YouCaring page to help Alex and April begin to rebuild their lives. You can find it here.  

Zimmerman says they are in need of basics, like socks, shoes and phone cards. Alex is in need of a pair of size 10 ½ men’s sneakers. April, a veterinary student at MSU, lost all her textbooks to the flames.

"It's unfathomable for most of us to understand what they're going through with this loss,” Zimmerman said.

But she says she has hope the community will come together to help.

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