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Bridger resident, barely three months after moving there, loses everything in a house fire



Bridger, Montana – A house fire in Bridger started last Saturday, locking the occupants inside. They managed to escape in time, but the house is completely destroyed.

In that fire, Terry Reynolds lost everything. She has to start again from scratch now. It’s difficult to accomplish that at 69 years old.

“You don’t have time to think,” Reynolds said on Saturday.

Chaos results from a disaster.

“You just react,” Reynolds said. “I don’t know that you even think.”

Reynolds heard an odd noise coming from the porch while she and her roommate, Chuck Anderson, were sitting in his Bridger house.

“We just kept hearing this pop, pop. We heard a noise out here on the porch area, and (Chuck) opened the door,” Reynolds said. “It was fully engulfed and the flames shot in.”

In the instant that followed, the house’s exterior and interior were destroyed by fire.

“We were trying to get out the back door. (It) got stuck and we couldn’t get out,” Reynolds said. “We called for 911 and we were trying to get out.”

Madison, Terry’s granddaughter, was in Billings when the fire started.

“When we got here and I actually saw that it was real, I started to cry,” Madison said on Saturday. “It was very emotional. After hearing how they had to get out, and almost not making it out. Chuck Anderson actually had to shoot the back door out.”

Terry and Chuck just about made it out of the fire. Chuck had to fire the doorknob and break it with his shotgun. Chuck’s two dogs and Terry’s two cats managed to escape, but Terry’s cats were lost.

“I still have one cat that we haven’t found,” Reynolds said. “My other little cat, unbeknownst to us, it was like three days later that we did find it in the back room. And he’s burnt, his little paws.”

After a brief stay at the Red Lodge Veterinary Clinic, he is currently recuperating at home.

“He got to come home,” Terry said. “We just have to do a whole lot of home care for him, but he’s coming along really good.”

Terry is appreciative of the volunteer fire crews in Bridger, Fromberg, and Belfry for putting out the fire. She also wished to thank the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office for their help.

The home’s landowner, Kapor Lumber, has also been a big help to Terry and Chuck these past three days.

Reynolds has lived in Wyoming for the majority of her life; she recently moved to Montana in October. She was compelled to move closer to her family in Bridger after the recent death of one of her children.

“I lost my other son. I stayed in Lander (Wyoming) for a long, long time,” said Reynolds. “Then the kids said, ‘Just come up here.’”

But she never would have imagined losing everything in an instant only three months after moving.

“When they say it comes in a second, it really, really does,” Terry said.

She must now navigate beginning anew.

She is, however, staying upbeat and expressing her appreciation to everyone who has lent a helping hand.

“The neighbors here, when it first happened, came to assist with a chair or a coat. Something that they could offer at that moment,” Terry said.

Madison also mentioned that Terry has a fund established in Bridger if anyone would like to contribute.

“There was an account down at (Bank of Bridger), you can also do it at any local (Bank of Bridger). Under Terry Reynolds,” Madison said.

Additionally, Chuck Anderson has an account at the Bank of Bridger, which is situated at 101 S. Main St. He was the owner of the house and lost everything in the fire, including his car.

“I’m very thankful that they came to my need. And I’d like to say thank you to the town and everyone,” Terry said. “The fire department, the sheriff’s office. Everyone that was here when this tragedy started. I don’t even know how to say thank you. But I’m very grateful to the town and everyone.”

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