NewsMontana and Regional News


Cascade County family grateful for community support after fire

Their home burned down July 11
Alicia and Kris Poliakiwski
Dearborn house fire
Posted at 10:24 AM, Jul 24, 2023

CASCADE COUNTY — Kris Poliakiwski smiled as he pushes his daughter on a swing in Great Falls. Happiness that, for he and his wife Alicia and their children, may have been hard to imagine just several days ago.

Their house in the Dearborn area between Cascade and Wolf Creek was destroyed by fire on Tuesday, July 11, 2023.

"We met some friends for a float down the river. We got on the river about 4 o'clock I think and we noticed the smoke kind of right away," Alicia said, recalling the day.

Unbeknownst to them at the time, that smoke was from their home near Dearborn burning to the ground.

"This house, there's been a lot of labor and love that we've put into it. we've always talked about living a vacation. So the house on the creek, it was a dream for us. To see it in flames was devastating," said Alicia.

Immediately after the fire, Alicia said, people began offering to help.

"We were very humbled by the support," Alicia said.

As of July 21, the family of five was staying in a hotel in Great Falls.

"We're looking for a rental," Kris said.

Kris and Alicia said the fire has taught them important lessons.

"We didn't have enough coverage. We were first-time homeowners, we didn't really think of those things. We were just getting enough insurance to be able to buy the home just to come out here, just to get started and didn't think to, over time, increase the coverage," Kris explained. "Like I said, we bought a fixer upper kind of and we put all this work into it and the value of the home went up significantly when we did that and I did not think of, or consider, increasing the coverage."

"Safeguarding your important documents. We lost passports and birth certificates. Even fireproof safes aren't rated for hours of fire, so storing those things off-site or storing copies," said Alicia.

They hope to eventually have a home of their own in the Dearborn area again.

"We chose Cascade because it's a small community and we wanted those small community values for our kids, for them to grow up in. We never imagined we would need them for something like this, but yeah, we can't imagine living anywhere else," Alicia said

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.


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