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Courageous neighbors, including 2 teens, help families escape house fires in Billings

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Posted at 11:59 PM, May 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 13:08:34-04

BILLINGS - Two families are without homes after a shed fire quickly escalated, destroying two neighboring mobile homes on Sunday.

Billings police believe the flames erupted after two kids were playing with matches and said it is unclear if any charges will be filed.

The fire, in the 300 block of South Billings Boulevard, caused around $200,000 in damages.

The fire started in the shed and spread to two homes at the C and C Community mobile home park.

"I was feeling the heat from it all the way over by our dumpsters,” said Richard Schave, a C & C resident. “I couldn't even be on my front porch."

Schave lives a couple of houses away from where the fires started.

He and the neighbors made sure the people who lived in the homes got out safely.

"Luckily we just installed that fire hydrant two years ago,” Schave said about a nearby hydrant. “So the fire department showed up and with it being right next to the fire, it was almost instantaneous that they had started fighting down."

Two others also helped get two dogs and two cats out of one of the homes

"I knew the people in there and I really was just in shock,” said Raider Reicher, another C & C resident.

The 13-year-old Reicher and his 15-year-old brother joined the three others in the rescue.

"The kids were already out,” Reicher said. “It was just the mom that we had to help. She wasn't getting out. She was trying to grab her stuff. I told her I told her just go."

Reicher says he and his brother did not hesitate.

“I'd rather have everybody else safe,” Reicher said. “I'd rather die saving somebody else."

"My kids have been taught that if somebody's in trouble you help them," said Toni Reicher, Raider’s mother.

Toni drove up with Raider and her other son was already headed to the fire.

"They're my babies and so I was still scared for them to go in there,” Toni Reicher said. “Then everybody started screaming for them to come out because we're hearing things pop and things bang."

And it's a small community that has become tighter.

"I'm kind of sad that that happened on Mother's Day,” Raider Reicher said. “And it was a tough day for people."

"I just teared up when I heard about it,” said Wendy Herman, C & C board president. “Mom's proud. One of the boys now wants to be a firefighter."

And she says they are working to help the two families who are now without homes.