Denton residents survey damage after devastating fire

Denton residents survey damage after devastating fire
Denton residents survey damage after devastating fire
Denton residents survey damage after devastating fire
Denton residents survey damage after devastating fire
Posted at 8:37 AM, Dec 03, 2021

DENTON — The effort to put out what remained of Wednesday's devastating fire in Denton was still well underway Thursday.

While some people had begun the cleanup process, many others were still trying to figure out how they and so many of their family and friends will move forward.

With an ax, a rake and a hose some firefighters carefully picked apart what was left of a garage Thursday morning, looking for any signs of fire.

Tiffany Wickens said her father's Jeep, which she had been hoping to drive, was in the garage.

Tiffany Wickens of Denton

"I have no idea,” Wickens said when asked if her father had insurance for the Jeep. "I have no idea because it's been sitting there and I told my dad I wanted to drive it this last summer."

The garage is surrounded by a seemingly endless amount of other garages and homes destroyed by the fire.

One of the homes belongs to a young family Tiffany knows well.

"A mom, dad and two children the same age as my kids. All (of their stuff is) gone now. I mean, it's just so crazy,” Wickens said.

Tiffany was at a restaurant in Denton when the fire approached the town.

Denton residents survey damage after devastating fire

"All of a sudden it got real dark. The sirens went off. Police were just blaring their horns, saying 'Get out! Time to evacuate,’” Wickens recalled.

She did, along with her mother, her kids and some items from her house.

Her father however, who didn't want to talk on camera, stayed behind to help fight the fire.

"We couldn't sleep at all last night,” said Wickens.

Kayle Allen also made an effort to fight the fire, using a garden hose to try to save his grandmother's house.

Kayle Allen

“(I was) born and raised here, it's pretty incredible to see all the houses gone,” Allen said.

His grandmother's house was still standing, but the inside, he said, was heavily damaged.

A few blocks away at the incident command center, Denton Fire Chief Mike Devries got emotional as he talked about the fire.

Interview with Denton Fire Chief

"It's a small town. We know our neighbors. It's heartbreaking,” Devries said.

DNRC County Assist Team Co-incident Commander Don Pyrah said the fire is actually two fires, a wildland fire and the structure fires in town.

"We've got a large number of resources through the Montana Mutual Aid Network and through the normal ordering processes that we do as a wildland fire agency to bring a number of specialized resources, both wildland resources and structure resources into this fire,” Pyrah explained.

Late Thursday morning, two DNRC helicopters landed in the football field in Denton.

West Wind Fire perimeter

They were able to get up in the air on Thursday and do some reconnaissance flights to assess the situation after not being able to get up in the air on Wednesday because of weather conditions.

The DNRC planned to be in Denton for at least a few days.

Click here to find out how you can help Denton residents.

Donations pour in for Denton fire victims