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Fire burns historic College Park Plaza


January 13, 2020

Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert

Charred remains fill a room in College Park Place after a fire burned in the building overnight in Havre Saturday night or Sunday morning. Havre firefighters contained the blaze to two rooms, although the entire building sustained smoke damage. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Editor’s note: This version corrects some information about the history of College Park Plaza.

Havre Fire Department responded to a fire at the College Park Plaza on 100 Block of 11th Street West which was reported at 12:54 a.m. Sunday morning. 

Havre Fire Department Chief Mel Paulson said this morning that the fire department dispatched three fire trucks, one ambulance and a total of 13 personnel to respond to the fire.

Firefighters arrived on the scene at about 1:01 a.m. He added that the fire was contained about 10 minutes after firefighters arrived on the scene. 

The fire was extinguished a few hours later and the fire department left the scene at about 3:45 a.m., he said. He added that the building was vacant and no one was hurt in the fire. He said the flame damage was contained in the rooms of origin and only damaged two rooms in the building, although smoke damage occurred was throughout the entire structure.

Paulson said that the cause of the fire is still being investigated.

College Park Plaza was originally Deaconess Hospital in Havre. Plans for the construction of the hospital started in 1917, and it first opened its doors in 1926.

The original building was expanded in 1958 to add more space for facilities.

The original hospital building was demolished.

Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert

Scenes from after a portion of the College Park Place apartments burned overnight in Havre Saturday.

The hospital closed, along with Havre's Sacred Heart Hospital, in the mid-70s when Northern Montana Hospital was constructed and opened.

The remaining addition of Deaconess Hospital was converted into College Park Plaza and used for office space and apartments. 

In 2017, the Hill County Health Board voted to close the College Park Plaza after years of various code violations and safety infractions. The building had many structural issues, including fire code violations.

Havre Police Department regularly had to respond to the location in the years before its closure to reports of incidents such as partner or family member assault, trash being set on fire, theft, disorderly conduct and harassment.

In 2016, Havre Police Department responded to about 275 calls involving the building.

The last of the tenants moved out in 2018 and utilities to the building were shut-off.


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