Employee, Customer Die in Fire at Montana Casino

April 25, 2022

Two people died in a casino fire in a small town in south-central Montana, Carbon County Sheriff Josh McQuillan said.

Marla Murray, 71, and John Ahles, 33, died Wednesday morning in the fire at Honest Tom’s Saloon and Casino in Bridger, McQuillan said.

Murray was a casino employee and Ahles was a customer, McQuillan said. Both are from Bridger, which is southwest of Billings.

The fire was reported at around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. Fire crews were not able to enter the building due to heavy smoke, Bridger Fire Chief Mike Buechler told The Billings Gazette.

The fire was under control in about 30 minutes, but the building was a total loss due to smoke damage, McQuillan said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but arson is not suspected, the sheriff said.

Murray and Ahles were the only two people in the casino at the time of the fire, McQuillan said. Autopsies are planned.

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