BILLINGS — The Billings Fire Department says that the cause of Saturday night's house fire is being classified as accidental.
They said a gas valve failed in a natural gas fireplace and ignited the wood paneling on the wall behind the fireplace.
According to a news release from the BFD, "nobody was home at the time of the fire however, multiple pets inside the structure perished in the fire."
The fire caused an estimated $35,000 in property and content damages, and the property and contents were not insured.
Billings Fire Battalion Chief Darrek Mitchell said firefighters found two dry fire hydrants in the Cherry Creek trailer park while battling the fire at 32 Lapin Street.
The fire was called in at 7:37 p.m. and contained shortly before 9 p.m. The cause and location of ignition are still being investigated.
Mitchell said the home was left with extensive damage, but to his knowledge at about 8:45 p.m. no one was injured in the fire.
Billings Police were first on scene and reported seeing flames and smoke coming from the house.
Truck Six was the first of the fire departments to arrive. Mitchell said that crew used up the entire 750 gallon tank of water from truck, initially knocking the blaze down. The firefighters had the truck hooked up to a fire hydrant to hook up to to provide more water to fight the fire, but found that it produced no water. At the same time, the fire ignited again.
With no water from the first hydrant, firefighters found a second one, only to learn the second hydrant was also dry. Fire crews were able to hook their trucks together to get water on the fire. Mitchell said crews went through a total of three 750 gallon tanks of water to contain the fire.
Mitchell said the house contained a lot of items like couches and mattresses that held heat well, making the fire tough to fight without steady access to water.
At about 9 p.m. a water tender truck arrived on scene to provide water so firefighters could extinguish hot spots.
Billings fire crews were on scene monitoring the house in the evening hours Saturday to make sure the fire didn't reignite.
Mitchell said he didn't know whether the dry fire hydrants were on city or county land.