A fire destroyed several businesses in the Yellowstone National Park gateway town of Gardiner, just six weeks after Montana entrances to the park reopened from a closure prompted by the novel coronavirus.
The Tuesday fire destroyed the Two Bit Saloon, Yellowstone Raft Co., Rosie’s Bistro and Red's Blue Goose Saloon, officials said.
The buildings, owned by Chuck and Lisa Curtis of Florida, continued to smolder on Wednesday and were a total loss, Park County Sheriff Brad Bichler told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
Bichler said someone came out of the Two Bit Saloon about 3 p.m. Tuesday, and told a passing deputy a fire had started in the restaurant. The deputy ran in with fire extinguishers but couldn't stop the flames, he added.
Two Bit Saloon proprietor Chuck Tanner told the Billings Gazette that the Blue Goose Saloon was demolished by emergency crews looking to halt the fire’s spread and save the rest of the block. Bichler said there was concern the fire might spread across the road into Yellowstone National Park.
Bichler also reported that the deputy who ran into the Two Bit Saloon said the fire appeared to be coming from a kitchen.
Jack Sandusky, owner of Yellowstone Pizza Co., said he and another man used a tractor to pull propane tanks away from the back of the Two Bit Saloon.
“Those tanks would have blown before they got this under control,” Sandusky told the Chronicle.
Firefighters got on the rooftop patio of the pizza restaurant with fire hoses to try to put out the blaze. Sandusky was on the roof too, and was later taken to a hospital for treatment of minor smoke inhalation.
The fire was under control by evening according to Greg Coleman of Park County Emergency Management.