Community steps up to help Elk City family that lost home, business in Dec. 7 structure fire

Fire Incident

WHITE BIRD — Later this month, the community will rally for one of its own who lost his personal belongings in a house fire.

The public is invited to attend the Richard Messick fire benefit spaghetti feed that will be Saturday, Oct. 20, at the White Bird IOOF Hall from noon to 3 p.m.

Messick and his dog escaped without injury last Wednesday, Oct. 3, following an approximate 4 p.m. report of a fire at his single-story residence at 3646 Old Highway 95. An electrical issue is a suspected cause for the fire, according to chief Bryan Lowe, White Bird Fire Department. Messick was not insured.

According to Lowe, Messick was working in the garden when he turned around and saw his house was on fire. He had difficulty in connecting to 911 from his property, so he got on his 4-wheeler and went to the Silver Dollar Bar whose employees called the incident in.

“It was fully engulfed when we got there,” Lowe said. “The fire was coming out of the windows.”

The White Bird Fire Department arrived within five minutes of the call, and they were assisted by the Salmon River Rural Fire Department, and with two water trucks and personnel provided by the White Bird Road District and local rancher Donny Heckman. A total 10 firefighters responded.

According to Lowe, firefighting efforts included keeping it from spreading to adjacent structures, and as well into the grass where it would have threatened further homes. Messick’s house was gutted by the fire, destroying all his personal property; however, according to Lowe, firefighters saved the shop that contained the equipment for his livelihood.

Firefighters were on scene until 7 p.m.

Messick has received assistance from the White Bird Medical and Relief Fund.

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