This article originally appeared in the Daily Inter Lake on March 20, 2004. View published clip (PDF).
Fire destroyed a home on Many Lakes Drive Friday, but not the spirit of the homeowner.
“I just had open heart surgery a few weeks ago,” said Sam Hanson with a grim smile as he watched his house burn in front of him. “So I don’t worry about this s—.”
Creston and Bigfork volunteer fire departments fought the fire, which Hanson said he thought started in the chimney.
“I heard it inside, and went outside and saw the roof was on fire,” he said. He went back inside to phone 911 and then escaped with his cat and parrot. His wife, Roberta, was safe at work at the time.
Gary Mahugh, Creston fire chief, could not confirm the cause of the fire: “It’s been very difficult to access. It’s all wood construction.”
Firefighters safely rolled two propane tanks and a propane grill away from the south side of the house to avoid explosions, but Bigfork fire captain Fred Sterhan said, “Obviously it’s a total loss.”
Roberta Hanson joined her husband after rushing home from work. “It’s not the house that matters,” she said. “It’s the contents… I just made three quilts, and I can see them burning up.”
The Hansons had lived in the house for about 12 years, and they said it was the first one built on Many Lakes Drive.
Libbie Lapp, a Creston emergency medical technician, followed Sam Hanson around to make sure he was all right. At one point he offered his arm in jest.
“Take my blood pressure!” he said.
Sterhan, who owns the Marina Cay Resort in Bigfork, offered the Hansons a room for a night or two if they needed a place to stay, but they already had made arrangements.
Sam Hanson looked inside at his smoldering dining-room table, still surrounded by chairs. Behind it stood the large brick fireplace that he thought started it all.
“The only thing I’m concerned about is that I’ve got my heart medicine on that table.”