At 1:15 PM on December 31, 2008, the Timberlake, Spirit Lake, and Northern Lakes Fire Districts were dispatched to a reported structure fire on Targhee Street in Athol. The fire was reported by a Panhandle Waste truck driver who saw black smoke coming out of a 2nd floor window. The fire consumed a live Christmas tree but was kept small due to a leak in the home's plastic water line - acting like a residential fire sprinkler system. Fire crews searched the structure and quickly extinguished the reamining fire.
Three weeks before the fire, the homeowners repaired a water line but left the hole in the ceiling with plans to patch it after the holidays. If the water line had not broken, the fire would have consumed much more of the home. Although it took approximately 30 minutes to shut off the water from the street, water damage was minimal with most of it draining to the crawlspace from a nearby access hole. The homeowners plan to install a residential sprinkler system and fire alarm system in the future.
No one was home at the time of the fire and there were no injuries. The cause of the fire is under investigation by Chief Krill and Deputy State Fire Marshall Mark Aamodt.