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Arson investigated after 2 killed in northwest Montana fire

| November 16, 2021 7:00 AM

COLUMBIA FALLS (AP) — Two men were killed in a house fire in northwestern Montana that's under investigation by authorities as possible arson.

The fire along a road near Columbia Falls was reported shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday, the Hungry Horse News reported. The two-story house was fully engulfed by flames.

Neighbors said they could hear screaming and a woman reportedly jumped from a second story window to escape the flames.

An arson investigation team was processing the scene of the blaze on Monday, said Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino.

"As fire units dealt with the fire, deputies interviewed witnesses and determined two males did not make it out of the residence and were deceased," Heino said in a statement. "The witnesses indicated they heard an explosion just prior to the structure being engulfed in flames"

The identities of the victims were not immediately released.

Four people reportedly lived at the house — a couple and their elderly parents, neighbors said.