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Looking Back: Fireworks barge catches fire twice

| July 10, 2024 1:00 AM

A look back at past Pilot articles by Julie Engler

50 Years Ago

July 11, 1974

Pacific Power and Light Company filed an application with the Montana Public Service Commission asking approval of electric rate increases averaging about 27% for its service area in Montana. It estimated the rate increase proposal would bring, based on 1973 data, additional revenues of $1.3 million on an annual basis. PP&L also estimated that residential customers would experience increases ranging from six to 23 cents per day depending on the level of household power usage. A household using 500 KW hours a month would pay an additional six cents per day, 1,000 kilowatt hours - 12 cents per day, and 2,000 kilowatt hours - 23 cents per day. 

40 Years Ago

July 12, 1984

The Big Mountain Resort planned several projects but the one many skiers had their eye on, the installation of a chairlift in the Big Creek area on the north side of the mountain, was still up in the air. Construction of a condominium complex with 50 units would begin and would be located between the Bierstube and the Alpinglow. The mountain planned to rebuild chair four to increase skier capacity to the top of the slopes and more chairs would be added to the lift, allowing it to carry 400 more skiers per hour. 

30 Years Ago

July 7, 1994

The city was taking steps to get rid of a smell that had been coming from the sewage treatment plant but an even worse smell arose from the rapid disintegration of the sludge that is causing the problem. The entire community would probably be able to smell the process for three to five days, according to Whitefish Mayor Jimmy Welsh. The city ordered six aerators from Minnesota to pump air into the sludge to help it digest itself. Dozens of residents in the area had called the city to complain about the odor.

20 Years Ago

July 8, 2004

Negotiations over city-county jurisdictional issues were marked by compromise on both sides as County Commissioner Gary Hall sat down with the City Council to hash out details of possible boundary changes.The only item not up for negotiation was the highway corridor. Commissioner Howard Gipe, who was not present, would not give the city full planning control two miles out on U.S. 93. Instead, Gipe drew the line one and a half miles down U.S. 93. The county was willing to give the city control of Montana 40 out to Dillon Road. 

10 Years Ago

July 9, 2014

It seemed Whitefish had a new Fourth of July tradition. For the second consecutive year, the pyrotechnics barge caught fire in the middle of the annual fireworks display over Whitefish Lake. Flames fully engulfed the structure during the grand finale, sending a large plume of black smoke into the night sky as thousands of spectators cheered from City Beach. The blaze started about halfway through the show when an ember landed on the plywood-covered barge. Amazingly, the fire didn't disrupt the show. Only five fireworks weren't launched as planned.