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Bozeman mall fire destroys thousands of dollars in merchandise

By Eric Turcio, Reporter, eturcio@ktvm.com
Published On: Aug 13 2013 06:08:28 PM MDT
Updated On: Aug 14 2013 04:08:42 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Monday night's fire destroyed an antique mall just west of Bozeman.

NBC Montana was on scene Monday night as fire crews from multiple agencies across the Gallatin Valley battled the flames. We went back out the Country Mall Tuesday to see the aftermath of the fire.

Victoria Golding worked at the Country Mall for 13 years and says she learned of the fire from a neighbor. Golding told us her first thoughts went the dealers who have booths at the mall.

"I thought about our dealers all night and owners all night," said Golding.

She was out early Tuesday with other workers who combed through the burned out rubble. Walking along the site we could see broken glass, chairs and bathroom sinks. People were looking through the ashy rubble for anything salvageable.

"No one was hurt and that's what matters. All of this can be replaced," said Golding.

Golding told us the fire started from a car parked close to the building. The cause of the vehicle fire is still under investigation, but eyewitnesses say the fire spread to nearby grass and furniture -- ultimately to the building.

According to Golding, the building's owner says by the time fire crews arrived, most of the mall was burned.  Fire crews had to spray the perimeter with water to prevent it from spreading.

"It was about 45 minutes before the first truck got here and they looked at it and just basically watered the perimeter and said it was gone," said Golding.  

Sandie Metcalf just set up her furniture shop yesterday, only to learn Tuesday morning everything was destroyed.

"My stuff averages $10,000, but like I said, it's just stuff," said Metcalf.

Metcalf told NBC Montana many vendors do not have insurance.

Brian Nickolay of the Rae Fire Department says his crews responded to the the fire within eight minutes after the fire was reported to their dispatch center.

Nickolay told NBC Montana the call came in at 9:31 p.m. on Monday night and fire crews were on scene by 9:39 p.m.

Also on scene, mutual aid from the Bozeman Fire Department, Fort Ellis Fire Department, Central Valley Fire Department, Gallatin Gateway Fire Department, Amsterdam Fire Department, Big Sky Fire Department, Bridger Canyon Fire Department, Manhattan Fire Department, American Medical Response, Gallatin County Sheriffs Office and Montana Highway Patrol.