The residents of a burning two-story house near Bonner escaped safely Friday afternoon, although it appeared the home would be a total loss.

Firefighters coped with 100-degree heat as they battled 15-foot flames at the home near West Riverside Drive. A car also was on fire. The blaze reported mid-afternoon Friday sent thick black smoke into the air and kept Missoula Rural Fire District and other fire crews busy for hours. 

The owner of the house, an elderly woman, was being comforted by friends, neighbors and family nearby as smoke billowed out of the upper-story windows.

A firefighter on the scene said he couldn't comment on the cause of the fire and a MRFD spokesperson was not available.

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