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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration
GREAT FALLS: (406)952-1001

A Fast Restoration Response When Fire Damage Occurs in Helena Properties

12/18/2020 (Permalink)

A home with a fire burning. SERVPRO of Helena & Great Falls has your Helena properties covered inside and out. Call us today if you have any issues.

SERVPRO Technicians Provide the Residents of Helena With Professional Fire Damage Restoration Services to Make it “Like it never even happened.”

During the Montana gold rush, Helena was founded as a gold camp and established on 30th October 1864. The gold rush turned Helena into a wealthy city since it hosted over 50 millionaires by 1888. The wealth accumulation contributed significantly to the city’s elaborate Victoria architecture.

According to the 2010 census, the city hosted a population of about 28,190. That made Helena the fifth least populated city in the U.S but the sixth most populated city in Montana. According to the 2019 Census Estimate, the city’s population grew to 81,653.

The History of Helena

Various indigenous people inhabited the Helena area. The Indian Creek and McHaffie sites show evidence that over 10,000 years ago, people who practiced the Folsom culture occupied the area. Native people, including the Blackfeet and the Salish visited the area during nomadic rounds 300 years ago before introducing horses.

In the early 1800s, British Canadians and Europeans began arriving in the area to work along the Missouri River, searching for fur-bearing animals, including beavers.

In the early 1860s, gold strikes in Idaho Territory attracted many immigrants. They inaugurated major gold rushes in 1862 and 1863 at Grasshopper Creek and Alder Gulch, respectively. The area’s population grew so fast that in 1864, the federal government came up with a new territory called Montana. Miners went on looking for new gold discoveries, and on 14th July 1864, the Four Georgians discovered gold in the Prickly Pear Creek. That led to the founding of a mining camp, which was along a creek in an area known as “Last Chance Gulch”.     

The population of the camp had grown to over 200 miners by fall. On 30th October 1864, seven men met to:

  • Name the town
  • Approve the street’s layout
  • Elect commissioners

Tomah was the first suggestion since the committee thought the word connected to the locals who were Indians. Since the committee held the meeting a day before Halloween, names such as Squashtown and Pumpkinville were nominated. Other suggestions involved naming the community after several towns in Minnesota like Rochester and Winona. That was because several settlers came from Minnesota.

At last, a Scotsman, John Summerville, came up with the name Helena. The name was in honor of Helena Township, Scott County. That caused an uproar from other committee members. The name’s pronunciation varied until 1882, when the pronunciation HEL-i-na became dominant.

Captain John Wood surveyed the city for the first time in 1865. Helena’s original streets followed the paths of miners making Early Helena city blocks in various sizes and shapes.

The wealth boom of the city

In 1888, experts estimated that 50 millionaires resided in the city, which was more millionaires per capita compared to any other city across the world. The millionaires had made a fortune from gold. During this period, experts estimated that around $3.6 billion was extracted from this area. Among the most popular placer deposits in Western, the U.S is the Last Chance Placer.

The significant accumulation of wealth in the city led to the development of fine residences. The Victorian neighborhoods and the ambitious architecture in the city reflect the gold years. Miners in the area also attracted the development of the red-light district. Josephine Airey “Chicago Joe” was among the most popular local madams who built a successful business empire in 1874. She was among Helena’s most influential landowners.

Since 1875, the city has been the capital of Montana Territory and, in 1889, the state of Montana. In 1892 and 1894, referendums were held to determine the capital of the state. Helena remained the capital. Until the census held in 1900, Helena was the most populated city in Montana.

The city’s economy

The city has maintained a long record of economic stability. This is because it has been Montana’s state capital and been founded in an area rich in lead deposits and silver. However, the city’s economy is growing slowly. Its capital status has turned it into a major center of activities. The city’s median household income is $50,889, according to the Helena Area Chamber of Commerce. In 2013, the city’s unemployment rate stood at 3.8 percent, which is about 1.2 percent lower compared to the rest of the state.

The training facility for the Montana National Guard, Fort William Henry Harrison, which is located outside the city, contributes significantly to the city’s economy. The facility also hosts the Fort Harrison VA Medical Center, which employs many city residents. 

Fire incidents in Helena

The average number of fire incidents that occurred in Helena from the years 2002 to 2018 and reported to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) is 145 per year. The highest number of fires reported in the area is 82 in 2002 and 211 in 2007. When examining fire subcategories, the most reports belonged to structure fires (35 percent) and outside fires (48.3 percent).

A notable wildfire fire occurred east of Helena in October 2020, damaging two grain bins and burning about seventeen acres before firefighters contained it. Fires are devastating incidents, and they can severely ruin homes. After a fire, reassurance comes from hiring experts who can restore the affected property to its preloss condition.

What restoration services do SERVPRO technicians provide in fire-damaged properties?

When the unfortunate happens in your property, the extent of the damage can be a nightmare and too disruptive. Most property owners feel a sense of relief after the fire department combats the flames, and everyone is safe. However, secondary fire damage in your Helena residence can begin in less than 24 hours. Thankfully, the restorers from SERVPRO have decades of experience and high skills in dealing with fire damage.

During the restoration process, our technicians can:

  • Inspect the affected area thoroughly to note the intensity of the damage and if any water damage occurred when the flames were extinguished.
  • Removal of damaged items from the property - We pack out any salvageable items and take to our off-site facility for restoration.
  • Protecting the property from harsh climate and intruders by boarding up any openings on the roof or walls
  • Water damage restoration and thorough drying - We extract all the water from fire-fighting efforts and dry the property even in hard to reach areas.
  • Smoke and soot damage restoration - Our restorers remove tarnishing caused by corrosive byproducts and smoke residues using advanced cleaning products.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting the entire property - We clean all affected areas thoroughly without causing more damage.    

When a fire incident occurs in your property, do not wait long. Contact SERVPRO of Helena and Great Falls to repair all kinds of fire damage both inside and outside your property. Talk to us today at (406) 458-6008. 

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