NewsMontana and Regional News


Arson ruled out in deadly Flathead County house fire

C Falls House Fire
Fatal Columbia Falls Fire
Posted at 12:32 PM, Nov 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 14:35:59-05

KALISPELL — Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino tells MTN News that arson has been ruled out as the cause of a house fire in Columbia Falls on November 14, 2021, that killed two people.

Heino said that fire investigators have ruled the fire as accidental and are still investigating to determine the exact cause and origin.

The Flathead County Sheriff's Office responded to reports of a fire at Hodgson Road and 8 X Lazy K Road shortly after 10 a.m. on November 14. Deputies arrived to find a residential structure fully engulfed in flames.

Law enforcement officers talked with witnesses at the scene and determined that two men did not make it out of the home and had died.

Kalispell resident Christian Watts told MTN News that both his stepdad Jeff Watts and his grandfather Lowell Smith died in the fire.

2 people die in house fire near Columbia Falls

Watts said his mother Miriam Watts and grandmother Doris Smith escaped the house, with his grandmother jumping out of a second-story window to survive.

Watts said both his stepdad and grandfather were military veterans and believes they fought until the very end to protect their family.

“Some actual heroes died in this house and as far as the stories my mother told me, my dad died trying to put that fire out, so I love him to death,” said Watts.

A GoFundMe account has been created to help the family; click here if you would like to donate.

2 people dead in fire near Columbia Falls

Columbia Falls family picking up the pieces after fatal house fire