Bozeman News

Mar 2, 2011 6:36 PM by Adam Bell

Investigation continues into fatal Bozeman apartment fire

The investigation continues into the cause of a fire that killed two people and destroyed a Bozeman apartment building early Tuesday morning.

Bozeman fire officials say they are continuing to conduct interviews and are hoping to release more information early Thursday morning. The fire broke out around 1 a.m. Tuesday in the 200 block of South 18th Avenue about two blocks south of the 19th Avenue and Main Street intersection.

Dale C. Beard, 29, and Jacob P. Neuman, 30, both of Bozeman and formerly of Wyoming were killed in the early Tuesday morning blaze. The two men were on the third floor of the three-story multiplex, Bozeman Fire Chief Jason Shrauger said. Shrauger said this is the first double fatality fire in Bozeman that he can remember in his 16 years with the department.

The Montana Red Cross said in a news release today that an estimated 15 people were displaced from their homes by the fire.

More than 40 firefighters responded to the scene. The American Red Cross also stepped in helping families in need.

"There's immediate needs of sheltering. We can provide clothes, thus seasonal clothes we're providing that with the winter being what it is, food and mental health services as well," Rick Gale of the Montana Red Cross said.

Gale adds the Red Cross is already assisting two families and had meetings with several others on Wednesday.

To donate to the victims of the fire, you can do so by calling the Montana Red Cross at 1-800-ARC-MONT and just specify that you want the donation to go to the victims of the Bozeman fire.

On our website a viewer posed a couple questions related to the Bozeman fire. Someone who goes by the by the name Joe Montana wanted to know how much money donated to the Red Cross actually reaches the families impacted by events like the fire.

Our news team spoke with Lori Grannis of the Montana Red Cross. Here is her complete statement:

We deliver our humanitarian services to clients of disaster every 53 hours in Montana. This is done primarily through the offer of financial aid, which
goes toward providing shelter, food, clothing and other quality of life items that may have been lost in a disaster such as the Bozeman apartment building fire. We do this so that Montanans have the ability to get back on their feet quickly in order to rebuild their lives in the days that follow any loss.

As it has been for the past century, we are an organization that is founded on volunteerism. Between our dedicated, well-trained volunteer responders,
and efforts in recent years to streamline our organization's operating expenses, we have relatively low overhead. For every dollar you donate to the American Red Cross of Montana, 91 cents goes toward providing our humanitarian services - not only to the victims of the Bozeman fire, but to anyone suffering a loss of this magnitude.

The best possible gift you can give to any one of your Montana neighbors who suffer losses in an event such as this, is a financial one. Your gift helps pick up the pieces of lives that are shattered in an instant - whether through a house fire, flood, or other emergency. Donate to the Montana Red Cross today at 1-800-ARC-MONT.

The viewer also questioned the use of smoke detectors. Here's what we found out: landlord tenant law states that the landlord must provide the smoke detector, the tenant must maintain it. It was in effect well before 1983 when this building was built, according to Bozeman Fire Department Deputy Chief Jack Coburn.

In 1970 the building code was updated to require that each apartment have a smoke detector inside of it. In 1991, there was another code update requiring a smoke detector be placed in every bedroom, however this does not impact this building since it was built before that time.

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