ROCKY BOY'S RESERVATION — Community members on the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation are reeling from the loss of the St. Mary church; the decades-old building burned down on Saturday.
The fire broke out around 10 o'clock on Saturday morning. Calvin Jilot, a firefighter with the Rocky Boy Volunteer Firefighters, told MTN the church is a total loss, but there were no injuries during the fire.
Father Joseph Tran told the Havre Herald he was in the woods cutting down a Christmas tree when he got a phone call telling him about the fire.
Robert Big Bow has been a church member for 44 years, and said, "It's just a major tragedy to see something so beautiful that’s burned to the ground."
This was Robert’s first time coming up here after the fire; surveying the charred ruins, he recalled, "They had funerals and stuff right there, and this is the major living room area where all the people paid respects to the people that passed away."
At this point they haven’t finalized any plans, but do hope to rebuild.
Tran said, "Even though it's destroyed, we can build another one, it’s something that really comforts me a lot. We will rebuild. The people have put a lot of time and energy into this building.”
Right now, officials still don’t know what caused the fire. There were no injuries reported.