Wednesday, December 13, 2017

**For Immediate Release**
Re: Spate of Fires Prompt Safety Reminder
From: Lt. Jim Bussell- Rapid City Fire Department
Office: (605)-394-4180
Date: 12/13/2017 10:00 am

High Winds, Hot Materials Combine to Pose Fire Risk

Rapid City, S.D. – According to the National Weather Service, on seven of the last ten days, Rapid City has seen wind gusts of 50 mph or higher. During that same span, Rapid City Firefighters have responded to 16 different fires. In a number of cases, the fires were caused by hot items that were not completely extinguished and were kicked up by the wind.

-On December 4, RCFD crews responded to a report of a structure fire. On arrival, crews found a plastic bucket used for discarding smoking materials that had ignited and melted the siding. The fire was out on arrival and damage to the structure was limited to the aforementioned siding.

-On December 10, RCFD crews responded to a report of a structure fire. On arrival, crews found a large pieces of furniture on fire in the yard of the home. Occupants had a small camp fire in the yard earlier in the evening. The occupants believed that they had completely extinguished the fire and went to bed. The occupants woke to the smell of smoke and found the furniture burning in the yard. Hot materials from the seemingly extinguished camp fire are believed to have blown into the furniture which then ignited them.

-On December 11, RCFD crews responded to a report of a structure fire. A plastic pot used for discarded smoking materials had ignited which then extended to siding on the residence. The fire was quickly extinguished but did result in damage to both the interior and exterior of the structure.

-Also on December 11, RCFD crews responded to a report of an exterior deck on fire at an apartment building. When crews arrived, the fire had been extinguished by maintenance workers with a fire extinguisher. A box of refuse containing smoking materials ignited on the deck which then extended to the deck materials. There was moderate damage to the deck.

The examples above highlight how, with the persistent windy conditions, items that are not completely extinguished can result in an unintended fire. As we have seen in the last 48 hours, fire combined with dry conditions and wind can prove to be catastrophic. Earlier this year, the Rapid City Fire Department issued a reminder about the potential for fire as it relates to potted plants. Because of the current conditions, potted plant fires remain a concern.

Most of the soil found in potted plants, both in homes and outside of homes, is a soil compound that contains little mineral soil and mostly organic compounds such as peat moss.  These organic compounds not only contain dead plant materials that produce heat from decomposition, but will also support smoldering combustion.  Many times, plant holders filled with potting soil will receive enough water to support furthering heat of decomposition, which is exacerbated if the plant is in direct sunlight.  Many times individuals will use outdoor potted plants as a receptacle for discarded smoking materials as they believe the soil is primarily dirt.  Due to the ability of potting soil to support smoldering combustion, when conditions are right (hot temps, wind, dry conditions, etc.), the smoldering conditions can turn into a free burning fire.  The problem quickly worsens when the pot is made of plastic or wood products, and spreads to other surrounding materials.

The Rapid City Fire Department would like to take the opportunity to remind homeowners to check potted plants for moisture content, especially since our growing season is over for the year.  Many homeowners have stopped watering these plants. Dispose of the dead root material, and store them in a cool, dry place for next season.  Additionally, please properly dispose of any smoking materials in approved containers only, and know that potting soil is not a good option for this.  Lastly, kindly consider purchasing outdoor pots made of fire resistant materials.

For questions or comment related to this release, please contact RCFD Public Information Officer Jim Bussell at the information provided above.


Sunday, November 26, 2017

RCFD Responds to Afternoon Grass Fire

Fire is the second in the area in less than 24 hours.

Rapid City, S.D. - Rapid City Firefighters from Stations 1, 4 and 7 responded to the area east of 21 E. Knollwood Drive just after 2:30 pm this afternoon for a report of a grass fire. Before arriving, a large, dark plume of smoke was clearly visible from most areas of Rapid City. The large column prompted multiple calls to Pennington County 9-1-1.  
When crews arrived they found an area that was approximately one acre in size that was actively burning. The area is comprised of grass, trees and a marshy area with a large amount of broadleaf cattails growing in it. When burned, broadleaf cattail marshes tend to produce thick, dark smoke and burn hot despite being in somewhat of a wetlands area. This was certainly the case this afternoon.
Fire crews took advantage of favorable weather conditions, adequate resources on scene, and fuel breaks to conduct a controlled burn out operation. The burn out operation reduces hazardous fuels in the area and may help reduce future problems later on. The burn out operation also helped to improve the fire area aesthetically by “squaring up” the burn area. The area should see a green-up effect in the spring as a result of the burn out operation.
Once burn out operations ceased and the fire was contained and mopped up, the burn area covered approximately three acres. As of 4:00 pm, the fire was 100% contained.
The fire is believed to have been human caused and will remain under investigation. The fire today occurred in the same area as another fire at around 7:00 pm last night. The fire last night is also believed to have been human caused.
Unseasonably warm and dry conditions are expected to persist into the foreseeable future. The Rapid City Fire Department will take this opportunity to remind the public to be cautious with sources of ignition. As hunters and outdoor enthusiasts take to the field, be aware of where vehicles with hot exhaust are parked. Avoid parking in tall, dry grass. Be mindful when smoking materials are discarded.
No further updates related to this incident are anticipated at this time. For questions or comment related to this release, please contact Lt. Jim Bussell, Public Information Officer for the Rapid City Fire Department at (605)-394-4180.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

**For Immediate Release**
Re: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
From: Rapid City Fire Department Public Information Office
Date: 11/21/2017

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

RCFD makes "nice list", asked to deliver Santa to Main St. Square

Rapid City, S.D. - Late this morning, the RCFD Public Information Officer received a call from the North Pole regarding the arrival of Santa Claus in Rapid City this coming Saturday, November 25.

Mr. Alabaster Snowball, Press Secretary for Mr. Claus, contacted the RCFD to inquire about the availability of a RCFD fire apparatus for Santa's delivery to Main Street Square at 2 pm on Saturday.

As has been the case for a number of years, Santa has chosen the RCFD to deliver him to Main Street Square for a number of reasons. Mr. Snowball remarked; "The RCFD has a reputation of reliability". "Reliability coupled with the fact that their fire engines are shiny and red, much like Santa's sleigh, make them an obvious choice", continued Mr. Snowball.

The Rapid City Fire Department will be picking Santa up at an undisclosed location and delivering him safely and on time to Main Street Square promptly at 2 pm on Saturday. We hope you can be there to help ring in the Holiday Season!

For questions or comment related to this press release, please contact Lt. Jim Bussell, Public Information Officer for the RCFD or Mr. Alabaster Snowball, Press Secretary for Santa Claus.


Monday, November 13, 2017

RCFD to Host EMT Course

Course will provide entry level EMS education to the public.

Rapid City, S.D. - The Rapid City Fire Department is hosting an EMT Course that is open to the public. The purpose of this class is to provide entry level EMS education to the public.

When: Class begins January 8, 2018 and runs through April 17, 2018. Classes will be held on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6:00-10:00 pm.
Where: Classes will be held at 1205 N. Maple Ave (Old Fire Station 7).
Cost: $850. This includes the cost of the book. All fees are due lo later than January 8 and must be paid in full before class begins.

Class size is limited to 10 students. For more information, please contact Capt. Chris Jolley at (605)-394-4180, Monday through Friday between 8 am and 4 pm.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Eight Begin Careers as Rapid City Firefighters

The new recruits will be assigned to Medic Units until completion of a 2018 Fire Academy.

Pictured, top row, L to R: Cory Eberle, Ryan Nelson, Brandon Lliteras, Karl Bodensteiner
Pictured, bottom row, L to R: Steven Gilbert, Randy Albright, James Swango, David Rohlf

Rapid City, S.D. - Today, eight individuals will begin their careers as Rapid City Firefighters. The eight employees have completed initial training to be able to work on RCFD ambulances. The eight will be assigned strictly to Medic Units until completion of a longer, more formal academy- which will include fire and rescue training- sometime in 2018.

Randy Albright- Randy is originally from Minnesota. Recruit Albright has eight seasons of experience as a wildland firefighter with the United States Forest Service, with seven of those seasons spent in the Black Hills. Randy has prior Emergency Medical Services (EMS) experience as a member of the Piedmont Ambulance Service.

Karl Bodensteiner- Karl is a life-long resident of Rapid City. Recruit Bodensteiner is certified as an Advanced EMT and has worked for the Rosebud Ambulance Service for six years. Karl is currently enrolled in Paramedic school at Western Dakota Technical Institute. Karl and his wife have eight children and live on a small hobby farm near Rapid City.

Cory Eberle- Recruit Eberle was born and raised in Sioux Falls and obtained a bachelors degree in Exercise Science from the University of Sioux Falls. He is recently married and enjoys mountain biking and running during his free time.

Steven Gilbert- Recruit Gilbert is a 2010 graduate of Rapid City Stevens High School and a graduate of Minnesota State University with a degree in Biology. Steven has prior experience in emergency medicine as a Technician in the Emergency Department in a Mankato, MN area hospital. In his spare time, Steven enjoys rock climbing and outdoors activities.

Brandon Lliteras- Brandon was born and raised in Chadron, Nebraska and has been a member of the Chadron Volunteer Fire Department since 2004. Recruit Lliteras obtained a degree in Fire Science from Casper College in 2006 and his Paramedic certification in 2012. Since 2012, Brandon has been a Paramedic with the Oglala Sioux Tribe Ambulance Service.

Ryan Nelson- Recruit Nelson is a 2012 graduate of Rapid City Stevens High School. Ryan has previous experience in Emergency Services as both an EMT with the Keystone Ambulance Service and as a Firefighter with the Black Hawk Fire Department. Ryan enjoys outdoors activities in his spare time. He and his wife are expecting their first child in November.

David Rohlf- David was raised in Belle Fourche, S.D. and is a 2014 graduate of Belle Fourche High School. Recruit Rohlf has been active in Emergency Services since 2014 as a member of the Belle Fourche Fire Department and as a member of the Rapid Valley Fire Department since 2015. In 2017, David graduated from Western Dakota Tech with a degree in Paramedicine. 

James Swango- Recruit Swango was born and raised in Livingston, Montana and moved to Rapid City in 1999. Because of his small town upbringing, he has a love for wide-open spaces and enjoys fly-fishing and backpacking with his children and wife. Since 2015, James has been a member of the Piedmont Ambulance Service and a member of the Piedmont Fire Department since 2016.

Congratulations and welcome to these eight fine individuals. We are pleased to welcome them to the Rapid City Fire Department Family. 

For media inquiries, questions or comment related to this release, please contact the Rapid City Fire Department at (605)-394-4180.


Fire Damages Residence on Southwest Side

Firefighters quickly knock down kitchen fire

Rapid City, S.D- On Saturday evening, Rapid City Firefighters responded to a kitchen fire that temporarily displaced a family and caused smoke damage to a home. At 9:44 pm on October 21, Rapid City Firefighters were dispatched to a report of a kitchen fire at 2609 Minnetonka Drive on the southwest side of the city. When crews arrived, smoke was coming from the front door of the home.

When firefighters entered the structure, they found a fire in the kitchen of the residence. They were able to quickly put out the fire. A thorough check of the home found that no fire had extended into the walls or ceiling of the home. Moderate smoke damage was sustained throughout the home.

The occupants of the home were able to quickly evacuate and call 9-1-1. None of the occupants at home during the fire were injured. The American Red Cross, serving Central and Western South Dakota, arrived on scene to assist the occupants of the home with immediate needs.

The cause of the fire was determined to have been accidental and remains under investigation. 

The Rapid City Fire Department would like to take this opportunity to remind citizens that fires grow quickly. Because of modern furnishings and modern construction, the amount of time that you have to escape a burning home is less than ever before. Know two ways out of every room in your home. In addition to having two ways out, make sure smoke alarms are installed outside of each sleeping area, test your smoke alarms monthly, and practice your home fire escape plan. Your escape plan should include a meeting place in front of the home. For more information on smoke alarms and exit planning, please contact the Rapid City Fire Departments Fire and Life Safety Division at (605)-394-5233. 

For media inquiries, questions or comments related to this release, please contact the Rapid City Fire Department Fire at (605)-394-4180.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Afternoon Fire Heavily Damages Southwest Rapid City Home

Rapid City, S.D. - Just before 4:20 pm, multiple companies from the Rapid City Fire Department as well as the Whispering Pines Fire Department were dispatched to a report of a structure fire at 6835 Sahalee Dr. At the time of dispatch, Pennington County 9-1-1 had received multiple calls reporting the fire. In addition to the numerous 9-1-1 calls, Rapid City Fire Headquarters also received a flurry of calls reporting the fire. A very large, dark column of smoke was clearly visible from all areas of Rapid City.

When crews from Fire Station 6 arrived on scene, they reported a single family dwelling that was heavily involved in fire. The fire was threatening an adjacent structure. Crews were able to quickly begin applying water to the fire  in the building of origin and protecting the adjacent structure simultaneously. Fire Engine 5 arrived shortly after Engine 6 and was able to obtain a water supply from a nearby hydrant.

The main fire was knocked down by 5 pm. Crews were able to locate and extinguish many hot spots by about 7:30 pm. A Rapid City Fire Department crew will remain on scene well into the night to ensure no additional hot spots flare up. An adjacent structure sustained minor damage as a result of radiant heat from the building of origin.

No one was home at the time of the fire and there were no injuries to civilians. A number of family pets did not survive the fire and a number of others are unaccounted for at the time of this release. One firefighter was treated for heat related illness.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Rapid City Fire Department Fire and Life Safety Division. The American Red Cross serving Central and Western South Dakota was on scene to provide assistance to the displaced occupants.

The RCFD would like to thank Pennington County Fire, the Whispering Pines Fire Department, the North Haines Fire Department, Montana Dakota Utilities, Black Hills Energy, and the Rapid City Police Department and Pennington County 9-1-1 Communications for their prompt, professional assistance with today's fire.

The RCFD would like to take the opportunity to remind the public that unnecessary traffic in the area of an emergency scene can create difficulty for responders. While we understand that many times there is a good deal of public interest in incidents such as a building fire, that interest can hinder emergency response. In the event of such an emergency, please choose an alternate route if possible or avoid the area until the response is completed to allow responders to easily navigate the area around the scene.

An update regarding this incident is not anticipated at this time. Please contact Lt. Jim Bussell, Public Information Officer with the Rapid City Fire Department, at (605)-394-4180 for questions or comment related to this release.