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Nov. 19 Headlines
Early morning fire destroys shed, damages vacant home Second structure fire in two weeks
School administrators back at work after health suprises
Op/Ed: Rolling over to DC bureaucrats hurts Montana
New community choir takes shape in Lincoln
My Smart Mouth: Red Ryder
Students Honor Veterans with musical performance
This is Montana: EKALAKA A BEAUTIFUL OUTPOST IN FAR EASTERN MONTANA
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Early morning fire destroys shed, damages vacant home Second structure fire in two weeks
Roger Dey BVD EditorA fire that may have been started by the dumped ashes from a woodstove, burned a shed to the ground and damaged a vacant house and fence on the 900 block of North 2nd Street in Lincoln, Sunday morning, Nov. 15. The fire was initially reported at 1:42 a.m. as a wildfire sparked by downed power lines burning in the grass near the house. Lincoln Fire Chief Zach Muse arrived at the scene first to find a shed fully engulfed, flames burning a wooden fence and the eaves and side of the house on fire. Due to the nature of the initial call as a wildfire, Assistant Fire Chief Aaron Birkholz responded with the department’s brush truck, which he said is rated for structure fires as well. Birkholz and Muse, the only two on scene for the first few minutes, were able to get the flames knocked back. “We got water flowing and I crawled under the smoke and sprayed up blind and hoped I got the fire on the eaves,” Muse said in an e-mail. “It worked and we stopped the fire from advancing into the structure.” Additional firefighters and the LVFD pumper truck arrived soon after. The Firefighters donned their air tanks and searched the interior of the building, to ensure there were no hot spots or fire inside the attic. Building owner Chad Fowler, who now lives in Seeley Lake with his wife and children, said the house has been vacant for several months and he credits the LVFD for their quick response. “I’d say they deserve kudos for sure,” he said. “They definitely hustled and got the fire out.” The fire damaged the exterior siding of the building, blew out one window and burned through the eaves. Fowler said the majority of the structural damage was in the attic, where the fire burned several trusses that will have to be replaced. “Smoke damage is probably the biggest part,” he said, adding that the smell permeates the house. Muse said that they were lucky to have gotten to the fire when they did. He estimates it was only a few minutes away from getting to the point where it would have engulfed the entire structure and possibly spread to other buildings. It appears the fire started after fireplace ashes from another home were dumped outside, where they smoldered before burning into a tree and catching the shed on fire, he said. Captain Dave Peterson, Patrol Captain with the Lewis & Clark County Sheriff’s office said the report is currently at the County Attorney’s office and that the cause of the fire is still being looked into. He said it will be up to the County Attorney to determine whether negligent arson charges will be filed against the person who dumped the ashes. The fire is the second structure fire in the last two weeks and the third in the past month. Last week a fire, believed to have been sparked by a leaking propane furnace, damaged a garage on Main Street. A space heater started a fire that damaged a shed at the Lincoln transfer station, Oct. 19. All three structures were saved. Muse wants to remind people to keep an eye on their home heating systems and to be particularly mindful of wood stoves during mild weather. “With the weather being fairly warm during days and not that cold at night, folks are burning their stoves a little cooler than normal. That causes incomplete burning of the fuels, and in turn fills your stove up with ash faster and your stovepipe up with creosote faster. You need to make sure that your stove pipes are clean a little more often and that you are not getting a big build up in them. Make sure you chimney caps are off, or at least real clean to allow good air flow,” he said. Given the suspected cause of last weekends fire, Muse said people also need to be very mindful of their fireplace ashes. “Please, when you empty the ashes out of your stoves, do not just pitch them out in the yard when there is no snow on the ground. Make sure you thoroughly soak them and stir them around,” he said. “Don’t put them anywhere near anything that can burn. We have had two structure fires in the past eight months due to folks putting their stove ash out back and forgetting about them. Put it in a big metal bucket and then fill it with water and stir it or put it in a big pile of snow and mix it around. Just don’t pitch them out back and call it good. You could be responsible for the damages caused by your negligence.”
Lewis & Clark County Job Posting POSITION: EQUIPMENT OPERATOR DEPARTMENT: PUBLIC WORKS PAY RATE: $18.87/HR STATUS: SEASONAL, AS NEEDED, NON-EXEMPT BARGAINING UNIT: MPEA CLOSING DATE: NOVEMBER 13, 2015 GENERAL STATEMENT: Under general supervision of the Assistant Road/Bridge Operations Supervisor, this position performs road and bridge maintenance and repair. EXAMPLES OF DUTIES: Perform road maintenance and repair including patching, crack sealing, chip sealing; road grading, sweeping, snow plowing, equipment transport, drainage work and dust control; operates heavy equipment including plow trucks, dump trucks, hot asphalt patching truck, roller, loader, backhoes, sweepers, dozers, water trucks, motor graders, performs routine maintenance and minor repairs of equipment; performs bridge installation and repair using excavators, backhoes, bobcats, boom trucks, pneumatic tools and laser levels; performs culvert maintenance and repair; installs and repairs fences using tractor with hydraulic post pounder; performs maintenance in right of way including brush and tree removal; seeding; sign installation and repair; performs traffic control using hand signs and installing cones, signs and barricades; may assist in flood control operations; performs other duties as assigned. TO APPLY: Submit a completed Lewis and Clark County application and cover letter thoroughly documenting relevant qualifications and experience, together with a current resume, to the Human Resource Office, 316 North Park, Room 303, Helena, Montana, 59623, no later than 5:00 P.M. on the closing date. For additional information, (406) 447-8316 or www.lccountymt.gov. Faxes and electronic material will be not accepted. Incomplete application materials will not be processed. The County may use the following factors to determine whether an applicant meets the qualifications for this position: review of application materials, past work performance, reference checks, and structured oral interview. BENEFITS: Your paycheck is just part of your total compensation package! Upon date of hire, employees are eligible for county health, vision, and dental benefits. Dependent coverage and supplemental options are also available. Employees earn 15 working days of annual leave, 12 days of sick leave and 10-11 paid holidays each year. Membership in a Retirement System with a county contribution begins upon the first day of employment (vesting criteria applies). SKILLS AND ABILITIES: Ability to operate heavy equipment; plow trucks, dump trucks, hot asphalt patching truck, roller, loader, backhoes, sweepers, dozers, water trucks, motor graders; ability to operate chain saws, compactor, jack hammers and various minor tools as needed; understand and carry out oral and written instructions; communicate effectively orally and in writing; establish effective working relationships with fellow employees, supervisors, and citizens. QUALIFICATIONS: The knowledge, skills, and abilities required for this position are acquired through a combination of education and experience equivalent to high school graduation and one (1) year road maintenance or road construction experience. Completion of an established apprenticeship program will be considered equivalent to the educational requirements and consideration will be given to the years of experience required for apprenticeship graduates. Must possess a valid Class A commercial driver’s license. AN EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY/AFFIRMATIVE ACTION EMPLOYER