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Arson ruled out in Montana house fire that killed 2 men

November 19, 2021 GMT

COLUMBIA FALLS, Mont. (AP) — Arson has been ruled out as a potential cause of a house fire southwest of Columbia Falls that killed two men last weekend, Flathead County officials said.

The cause of the Nov. 14 fire is still under investigation, but authorities suspect a wood stove that had flammable objects nearby could be the cause, Sheriff Brian Heino told the Flathead Beacon on Thursday.

Witnesses reported hearing an explosion right before the house caught fire.

Because people died and the fire burned very quickly, the fire department requested an arson investigation, Heino said.

“We always want to do due diligence when somebody passes in a fire,” he said.

The names of the victims have not been released while authorities wait for autopsy results from the state crime lab in Missoula.