Arson ruled out in Montana blaze that killed 2 men


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COLUMBIA FALLS, Mont. – Arson has been ruled out as a potential cause of a house fire southwest of Columbia Falls that killed two men over the weekend, Flathead County officials said.

The cause of the Nov. 14 fire is still under investigation, but authorities suspect that a woodstove that had flammable objects nearby could be the cause, Sheriff Brian Heino told Thursday. Flathead Beacon.

Witnesses reported hearing an explosion just before the house caught fire.

Following:2 killed in a house fire in northwest Montana; suspected arson

Neighbors said they could hear screams and a woman jumped from a second story window to escape the flames.

“As the fire units battled the blaze, MPs questioned witnesses and determined that two men had not left the residence and had died,” Heino said in a statement. “Witnesses said they heard an explosion just before the structure was engulfed in flames”

Because people died and the blaze burned very quickly, firefighters called for an arson investigation, Heino said.

“We always want to do our due diligence when someone goes by in a fire,” he said.

The names of the victims have not been released while authorities await autopsy results from the Missoula State Crime Laboratory.

Four people are believed to have lived in the house – a couple and their elderly parents, neighbors said.

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