GREAT FALLS — A young child died in a house fire in Lewistown on Thursday, December 16, 2021, and her mother was seriously injured.
A news release from Jon Polich, the Lewistown assistant chief, says that at about 1:30 p.m., smoke and flames were seen coming from a house on the 300 block of W. Water Street.
When emergency crews arrived, a woman outside the house said that her three-year old daughter was still in the house.
Officers and firefighters tried to get inside to rescue the child, but were unable due to the fire "consuming the residence."
Once the fire was extinguished, emergency responders found the body of the child inside.
The mother was taken to Central Montana Medical Center for treatment of injuries she sustained; a family member says that she has since been transferred to a burn unit in Salt Lake City.
One police officer was also taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries sustained while trying to rescue the child.
An investigation into the cause of the fire is underway; agencies involved include the Fergus County Coroner's Office, Lewistown Fire Department, Lewistown Police Department, and State Fire Marshal.
We will update you if we get more information, including how people may be able to help the affected family.
The news release states: "All emergency responders would like to extend their deepest condolences to the family that was affected by this tragic incident."
(UPDATE, 2:56 pm) A GoFundMe account has been created to help the family.
Hi, my name is Marissa. Earlier today my sister matika and her husband Levi’s house caught fire with their 3 year old baby girl and my sister inside. My sister is currently being mercy flown to Salt Lake City to their burn unit. Unfortunately my niece did not make it out alive. I’m starting a fundraiser to help Levi and My sister with medical expenses, travel expenses, and funeral costs for their little girl. Anything helps. Thank you.
In addition, a Facebook group has been created called "James/Irish Family Fundraiser." Click here to visit the page.
We will update you if we get more information.