Fire claims Boyd home

Eleanor Guerrero
CCN Senior Reporter
Thursday, August 22, 2019
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Photo by Ann Sadler
The Harper residence in Boyd was totally gutted by a fire on Monday, Aug. 12, that started in the garage and also destroyed two vehicles.

Terry and Robin Harper were on a good will mission to help their son never dreaming they would soon be on the receiving end of local support. They had driven about halfway to Shepherd where his home had been assailed by hail when the call came in to them from a neighbor that their house was on fire. “We turned around,” said Robin. Terry, a Joliet firefighter, who had come to the rescue for others in the past, was now faced with being unable to save his own home.

Robin was unbelievably calm and philosophical. “It’s just stuff that was lost. The very back one (bedroom) had tons of smoke. But everything clear back through the living room, dining room” are gone. 

“It’s probably the most devastating thing we’ve gone through. We’ll get through this. The community and friends and family have just have been fabulous,” said Robin.

They live just off Boyd/Cooney Dam Road.

“If we had been there we’d probably have done something stupid like try to put it out. It could have been a lot worse!”

“We’ve been married for 45 years. We’re best buds and we’ll get through it together.”

Joliet Fire Chief Melvin Hoffer said, “We received the call on Monday, Aug. 12. The investigators can’t determine the cause. Too much has been destroyed.”

Hoffer said, “They (the Harpers) just left 30 minutes prior to go to Shepherd because of the hail. Terry Harper had his radio on and heard about the fire call. The whole garage, kitchen, living room and office were destroyed. The fire was in the attic. Some of their possessions in the master bedroom are ok.”

The fire started after people heard an explosion in the garage.  

From the garage, said Hoffer, “It went up the fire wall (sparing some of the house), into the attic and came down. They had just purchased the Harley for their retirement.”

The Harley, a trike, was totally destroyed as was a car left in the garage.

Joliet responded in “about 10-15 minutes to get to Boyd. Red Lodge Fire Rescue came shortly thereafter.”  Hoffer praised the mutual aid response. Red Lodge brought 2 benders, one fire engine, (small) grass trucks and sent an ambulance.

Edgar, Fromberg and Joliet responded with water tenders. 

Roberts brought a water tender and structure engine.

“It’s really nice how we work together,” he reflected. 

Although the fire started in the garage Robin said, “They never did figure it out.”

Robin explained her son suffered a similar fate of large damage. “We went to go help our son in Shepherd. The house was annihilated by the hail on Sunday (Aug. 11).” It damaged the roof, broke windows and there was a “house full of hail” to pick up. “The living room was sopping wet.”

Terry and Robin are currently living at the Joliet Motel. Even their pets were saved due to a quirk of fate in going away at the time.  “We’re thankful that no one was hurt. We happened to put the dog in the kennel just before we left because we knew we’d be home late. The cat was outside.”

Robin admitted it is tough having to start from scratch. “There are moments…” But she said, quickly recovering, “we’ve got tons of family support. We’re insured. We’ll get through it.” 

The community is discussing ways to help the Harpers recover.  


Upcoming Events

  • Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Now Group meets at the Bridger United Methodist Church, 222 W. Broadway (west entrance of church) Tuesday at 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Meets every Thursday, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, 122 S. Hauser. It is open to all. 425- 1755.
  • Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Clarks Fork Group meets at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hall, north end of Montana Avenue, Thursday at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, September 20, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Rock Creek Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9 N Villard, Red Lodge.
  • Saturday, September 21, 2019 - 11:30am
    Ross Orchards, located at 111 North Street in Fromberg, is proud to announce the opening of a farm stand this Fall. The orchard will be open Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sundays noon - 5 p.m. starting Sept. 21 and closing Oct. 13. The orchard is working in conjunction with the Last Chance Pub and Cider Mill and Red Lodge Ales to offer fun, family-friendly events.   Every weekend apples, fresh apple cider pressed with apples from the orchard, apple pastries, local honey, food, hard cider, and beer will be available.  There will also be pumpkins and a variety of local produce for sale. Additionally, each weekend will have a different event. Sept. 21 - 22 – Cider and Salutations yoga 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Sept. 28 – A farm to table dinner at 5 p.m. catered by the Last Chance Pub’s chef Kevin McNourlin. The dinner will feature local foods paired with cider. Contact to reserve seats (limit 40) Oct. 5 - 6 - Kidz Dayz. Bounce house, pumpkin carving, face painting and tractor rides through the orchard. Oct. 12- Orchard run 5k. A family-friendly run/walk through Ross Orchards. Visit to sign up. Sam Hoffmann, President of Red Lodge Ales, remarked, “it has been fun to get to know John, Laura, Hilary, and Elizabeth Ross over the last ten plus years. Together we have pruned, picked apples, and made cider on a home brew level and now commercially. We are proud to share our work with the public.” John Ross, owner of Ross Orchards, adds, “The orchard has always been a source of pride and happiness for me.  Our family has enjoyed working with Sam and Lindsey Hoffmann and their employees. We look forward to the success of Orchard days.” Contact for more info: John Ross 406-671-9614,; Sam Hoffmann 406-425-4607,; Lindsey Hoffmann 406-425-3734,  
  • Monday, September 23, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Joliet Group meets at the Community Center Monday at 7 p.m.

The Carbon County News

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11 N. Broadway, Red Lodge, MT 59068

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P.O. Box 970, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Phone: 406-446-2222

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