Three people are confirmed dead in a "suspicious" fire in Corvallis. Ravalli County Sheriff Steve Holton said the three adults were in an upstairs apartment in the two-story wood-frame building on Corvallis's Main Street. He said the investigation is in its initial stages, with fire experts coming to the scene later today. Holton said an independent fire investigator will be at the scene, along with members of the State Fire Marshal's office. Holton said his entire Detective Division has been assigned to the incident "to determine the cause of the fire."

The fire was reported at about 2 a.m. Monday morning and the Corvallis Fire Department responded, with assistance from the Pinesdale, Hamilton and Victor Fire Departments. Occupants of the first-floor apartments escaped the flames, but the three victims were on the second floor. Firefighters were able to confine the main blaze to one building, though it had begun to spread to another apartment building, and all the occupants were evacuated safely as that fire was extinguished. Holton praised the firemen with their "rapid and processional response." The American Red Cross is helping the displaced families.

The identities of the victims will be released after further investigation, Holton said. He urged anyone who observed anything in the area early Monday morning to contact Detective Jake Auch of the Ravalli County Sheriff's Office at (406) 363-3033.

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