Ravalli County Authorities Investigate Arson Fire Near Florence
The Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an arson case that occurred shortly after midnight on Sunday in the Florence area.
Sheriff Chris Hoffman said 9-1-1 received a report from 57-year-old Lori Miller who reported a fire in the living room of her home. Sheriff’s Deputies and Montana Highway Patrol responded to the call with Volunteer Fire Departments from Florence, Stevensville, and Three-Mile.
"Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Tamara Winchell was the first responder on scene and located Miller still inside the smoke filled living room with fire burning approximately four feet from Miller," Hoffman said. "Miller, who was intoxicated, initially refused to leave the residence and Officer Winchell removed Miller to a safe location outside and away from the structure. Officer Winchell then re-entered the home and searched for any remaining people or pets."
Hoffman said Trooper Winchell was later treated and released at a local medical facility as a precaution due to smoke inhalation, and that the Florence Volunteer Fire Department arrived within just a few minutes of the first call and extinguished the fire which was confined to flooring in the living room area.
"No one was seriously injured and there were no significant property damages, due in large part to the efforts of Trooper Winchell and the Florence Volunteer Fire Department," Hoffman said. "Through the course of our investigation, evidence was discovered that indicated the fire was started intentionally and Lori Miller was subsequently arrested for the offense of arson. The investigation is on-going with assistance from an investigator with the State Fire Marshal."
Sheriff Hoffman credited the safe outcome to the quick and selfless response from all of the agencies involved.