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Family moves forward after alleged arson forces them from their home

By Katherine Mozzone, KTVM Reporter, kmozzone@ktvm.com
Published On: Jun 13 2013 06:17:26 PM MDT
Updated On: Jun 13 2013 06:51:38 PM MDT
BELGRADE, Mont. -

A Belgrade family is moving forward after a fire forces them from their apartment. We first told you about the fire at 702 Minnesota Wednesday night. Thursday, police and prosecutors say that fire was intentionally set. A family lived in the second apartment. The mother and 3-month-old child were at home at the time.

"One of the scariest things I've ever had to deal with in my life." Belgrade resident Jancy Brindle tells NBC Montana she was on the phone with her mom. Her 3-month-old son Kaden was in front of the TV when she heard a knock at her door.

"Told me to get out of the house and I said why and she goes, 'you just need to get out of the house and go to safety'...I looked up and see just nothing but black smoke and I was like, 'what did you do?'" recounts Brindle.

Brindle says she had no time to think. She grabbed her son and her dog Kita and ran from the home. Brindle tells us she told a passerby to call 911 and within minutes firefighters were on the scene.

"It was probably five minutes, 10 minutes maybe. Within that time, it just went. I mean, there were flames everywhere," says Brindle.

Brindle tells us, from the looks of things, there's only water damage to her apartment and everything is intact. But she says she's still shaken up.

"Last night, trying to close my eyes, all I could see was her face and the fire, so one step at a time and my husband is a great supporter and my son, he's everything to live for," Brindle says.

In fact, Brindle says the fire may have been a blessing in disguise. Now, she and her husband are looking to buy a home.

"We've been waiting for a preapproved loan for a year and a half, so now we got it, so we're just going to move forward and grow with our family," explains Brindle.

While the Brindles search for a new home, the owners of the duplex begin the process of repairs.

"Might as well start putting it back together." Travis Dubyak shows around insurance agents. He and his parents own the duplex.

"It's going to be a complete rebuild from at least the ceiling of the downstairs to the top of the roof because the trusses and stuff are burned up there," explains Dubyak.

Dubyak won't know exactly how much it's going to cost until the contractor makes his assessment.

"I'm going to say it's going to cost around $100,000 because that's about half of what the house costs," says Dubyak. Yet he says, all in all, he's just grateful everyone made it out safely.

"We're as lucky as we could have been, I guess," Dubyak says.

Dubyak expects repairs will take at least two or three months.

Brindle tells us she and her husband have already looked at two homes Thursday and they plan to look at another one Friday.