Bozeman firefighters were not first to respond to the fire at Heritage Christian School because it’s technically not part of the city.

Despite being located within a few miles of the city’s newest fire station off of Davis Lane, the school is on one of several pockets of county land inside the Bozeman city limits.

When a fire occurs in one of those pockets, Bozeman firefighters only respond if the fire department in charge of that jurisdiction requests assistance.

“For us to go outside the city, we have to be requested,” Acting Operations Chief Keith Johnson said Monday.

The Rae/Sourdough Fire Department responded to the school and eventually called several other fire departments, including Bozeman, for mutual aid.

Like the school, there are many additional pockets of county land in Bozeman as some residents have resisted being annexed into the city.

When properties are annexed, the city extends public water and sewer lines and provides emergency services like police and fire protection. The property owner must pay fees and city property taxes.

Amanda Ricker can be reached at or 582-2628.