Explosion And Fire At Choteau Apartment Building

CHOTEAU, Mont. (AP) — An explosion and a fire at an apartment building in the town of Choteau on Tuesday has displaced 24 residents, two of whom were taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, Mayor Chris Hindoien said.

The building, which had eight apartments, will be a total loss, he said. The explosion happened just before noon in one of the apartments, but the cause is unknown.

Fire crews from Choteau, Fairfield and Pendroy responded to the fire call. A power outage briefly interrupted the city's water pumps, but backup generators kicked in and electric service was quickly restored, Hindoien said.

Three other nearby towns brought water trucks, which were being filled from a creek, to help fight the fire, Hindoien said. City residents were asked to conserve water.

A former city employee got out of his apartment with his two dogs, but not his wallet, Hindoien said. Another resident's dog was lost in the fire, he said.

Choteau is a town of about 1,800 northwest of Great Falls along the Rocky Mountain Front.