The Madison Valley Rural Fire Department rummages through what is left of a fifth-wheel that caught on fire Jan. 11. PHOTO BY HANNAH KEARSE

Ennis house fire displaces six

Flames destroy three homes

At around 4 a.m. Saturday, Robyn Oldham woke to knocking on her window. It was a neighbor, telling Oldham the house was on fire.

The fire started from a fifth-wheel residence parked on Oldham’s yard. The man living in the fifth-wheel was not there when the fire started. Three trailers, a small camper, two 500-gallon propane tanks, a shed and a minivan were destroyed.

“There was nothing left of the fifth-wheel,” Madison Valley Rural Fire Department Chief Shawn Christensen said. 

Neighbors reported the fire as Oldham, her oldest son, daughter-in-law and pets got out of the house. Fire crews from Madison Valley Rural Fire Department and Virginia City responded with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, Department of Emergency Services and Ennis Ambulance. 

Strong winds whipped the flames. It took over two hours to reduce the fire to a smoldering pile of charred debris. Firefighters stirred through the wreckage, soaking all possibilities that the wind would ignite a glowing piece.  

Six people were displaced but unharmed. According to the GoFundMe page that Oldham’s youngest son, Finn Vandenbergh, created, Oldham’s pet cat was partially burnt from the fire. Her other cat, a large gray cat named Caesar, is missing. 

The back of Oldham’s house was destroyed, consuming the kitchen.

The residences across the narrow alley between Madison Avenue and Mirza Way had significant damage as well.

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The Madisonian

65 N. MT Hwy 287
Ennis, MT 59729

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