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Thursday, June 4, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Pacific NW

100 years ago in Montana: Dozens of firefighters trapped by wildfire save themselves in Whitecap Creek

 (Jonathan Brunt / The Spokesman-Review)
(Jonathan Brunt / The Spokesman-Review)

Between 60 and 70 firefighters made a “spectacular escape” from a raging wildfire in the Selway region.

The men had been working on one fire when another fire “worked around behind them, trapping them between two fires.”

The men were compelled to leap into Whitecap Creek and remain submerged to the neck until the fire passed through. They emerged mostly unharmed, but one of their horses burned to death, several others were injured, and all of their equipment — including the saddles on the backs of the horses — was destroyed.

At least 18 new fires sprang up in western Montana and North Idaho, making a terrible fire season even worse.

From the missing persons beat: Police were now looking toward Los Angeles for clues in the mysterious disappearance of Spokane stockbroker and real estate man W.H. McNutt.

The Spokesman-Review reported that “telegraphic word was expected hourly at the sheriff’s office that traces had been found in California of persons knowing of the disappearance.”

Mrs. McNutt was adamant that her husband “has been foully dealt with.” She said that some people involved in a business dispute at one of his lodging houses had been threatening him. Those people had disappeared from Spokane shortly after McNutt vanished.

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