Victim of Monday’s house fire has been identified

Posted at 5:37 PM, Aug 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-01 19:37:03-04

Cascade County Sheriff Bob Edwards has identified the man who died in a house fire on Monday as Herbert “John” Wolfe III.

Wolfe was 53 years old. The cause of death was smoke inhalation. 

The cause of the fire appears to be electrical, and foul play is not suspected, according to Sheriff Edwards.

(JULY 30, 2018) One person died in an overnight fire just outside of Great Falls city limits. The name of the victim has not yet been released, pending positive identification and family notification. The fire was reported just after 1:30 a.m. on Monday on 19th Street South near 30th Avenue.

Dianna Wichmann lives across the street and says the sound woke her and her husband up: “There was just a huge fireball. “My husband and I were sleeping. We both woke up and I heard some snapping and popping and asked my husband what that noise was and he bolted out of bed and looked out the window.” They immediately rushed to try to help their neighbor.

Firefighters from Sand Coulee, Black Eagle, Gore Hill, and Great Falls responded to the scene, as well as the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office.

The mobile home was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. Cascade County Sheriff Bob Edwards said in a press release that once the fire was extinguished, human remains were found.

“They fought diligently to get the fire out, but it was just too far gone at that point," said Wichman. 

But in a time of devastation, the neighborhood came together. “Everybody I thought did a fabulous job moving vehicles away from the trailer, and the fire department – the response was just phenomenal. And the Sheriff, everybody’s attention was just – they really pulled together and came together as one to fight this tragedy,” said Wichman.

At this point, foul play is not suspected, according to Sheriff Edwards. The body is being taken to the Montana State Crime Lab for an autopsy and positive identification. Edwards said that he will release the name of the victim once positive identification has been made, and the victim’s family has been notified. 

Fire crews left the scene at around 7 a.m. Investigators from the Sheriff’s Office and the state fire marshal remained at the scene attempting to determine the cause of the fire. The home is considered a loss.

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