Senator views fire damage

Miles City Star

by By Elaine Forman

Sen. Jon Tester came to Miles City Friday to meet with city officials and to see the site of the Main Street Fire.

“The key reason I came home (Montana) this weekend is to see firsthand what is going on here,” he said.  As always, the scene is “more devastating in person than the pictures.”

He said it was sad to see “the historic part of our town reduce literally to rubble.”

He also cited the fact that three towns (Bozeman, Whitehall and Miles City) have lost a part of their historic downtown, in addition to businesses and jobs recently.

The one good thing was that Miles City did not lose and lives, he said.

He praised the job all first responders did, noting, “I’m continually amazed” at the job the firefighters do “under extremely difficult conditions.”

He was also amazed to see the tough conditions that hampered the firefighters—including the problems of trying to get the fire inside the walls—and to see the unusual attic cavities and dropped ceilings.

“It could have been a lot worse than it was,” he said.

With the “sheer devastation” fire and the “lean economic times,” it makes this situation even more difficult, he said.

Tester believes it is very likely that Miles City will be eligible to get help from government resources.

He praised how the community has dealt with the disaster and has reached out to the victims (the employees and business owners) to help.