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Huntley trailer home destroyed in fire apparently caused by electrical problem with freezer

March 11, 2017

A fire left a Huntley trailer home destroyed Friday afternoon, as flames billowed out windows and ammunition left inside the home exploded from the heat, creating popping sounds that could be heard as firefighters battled the blaze.

Located at 147 1/2 North Canal Drive in Huntley, a neighbor saw flames and smoke coming from the trailer at about 4:20 p.m., according to Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Ryan Taylor. No one was inside at the time.

Worden Volunteer Fire Department Chief Lance Taylor said the structure was fully involved with flame by the time his agency arrived on scene. The Shepherd Volunteer Fire Department assisted in the firefighting effort.

Crews on the scene of a mobile home fire on N Canal Rd in Huntley. @billingsgazettepic.twitter.com/rH7a6UcqCR — Casey Page (@BGCaseyPage) March 10, 2017

Smoke and flames were first seen coming from near an old freezer plugged in beneath a carport next to the house, and the burn pattern of the trailer suggested an electrical problem with the freezer might have caused the fire, Taylor said.

The trailer’s resident, a renter named Jim Barrigan, said he had lived there for 15 years.

A neighboring trailer home separated by several feet from the one on fire was not threatened and was unlikely to suffer from smoke damage, according to Taylor.

Thick smoke still pouring from the trailer. Starting to block out the sun. pic.twitter.com/ppbLImD5d7 — Michael Kordenbrock (@BGKord) March 10, 2017

Popping sounds could be heard at times during the fire. Sgt. Ryan Taylor said the noise came from “a couple hundred rounds” of .22 ammunition that were inside the trailer.

But Lance Taylor said the ammunition did not have a significant effect on his crew’s approach to fighting the fire. Speaking at about 5:20 p.m., Taylor estimated they would be battling the fire for another hour.