By Mira Brody EBS STAFF
GARDINER – Smoke lingers and four businesses are gutted after a fire broke out in Gardiner on Tuesday, July 16. According to the Park County Sheriff , around 3 p.m. a man ran out of Two Bit Saloon on the corner of Second and Main streets and flagged down a passing deputy, yelling that a fire had started inside the restaurant.
The deputy attempted to control the fire with an extinguisher, but it quickly grew beyond his control and spread to Yellowstone Raft Company, which shares the building with the saloon, Red’s Blue Goose Saloon and Rosie’s Pizza. All four businesses were destroyed.
One firefighter suffered minor smoke inhalation, but law enforcement was able to evacuate all of the buildings and no one was seriously injured. Fire crews made the decision to knock down Red’s Blue Goose Saloon around 7 p.m. to keep the blaze from burning further through town. As fire danger increases in the area, officials were concerned that the fire would jump the road and crossing into Yellowstone National Park, but crews were able to control the blaze.
“We can not put into words how grateful we are to the timeliness of our volunteer fighters in Gardiner and surrounding areas who arrived on scene shortly after the fire began and continued to fight through the night,” said Blue Goose Saloon in a Facebook post. “Thank you to everyone who was a part of the effort to fight the fire.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but the initial deputy who responded said it appeared that it started in the kitchen of the Two Bit Saloon.
Those looking to help employees displaced by the fire can make a donation to the following:
You may also send a check to the Yellowstone Community Fund (Gardiner Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 81 Gardiner, MT 59030), or the Gardiner Food Pantry (Gardiner Food Pantry, P.O. Box 459, Gardiner, MT 59030). You must state on your check that your gift is allocated for fire relief/dispersed employees.