Firefighters, Bystanders Perform Multiple Rescues During Morning Fire
Heroic efforts result in no injuries after Cherry Avenue fire
Rapid City, S.D.- An early morning fire in an apartment building forced bystanders and firefighters to make multiple rescues before being brought under control. At 6:30 am this morning, crews from Rapid City Fire Department Stations 1, 4 and 6 were dispatched to a report of a structure fire with persons trapped at 2021 Cherry Avenue. Pennington County 9-1-1 was fielding multiple calls reporting the fire and calls from individuals inside the structure who reported being trapped.
As crews arrived, employees from Collins Siding– located across the street from the apartment building– were completing the rescue of a female occupant from the balcony of one of the apartments. Crews reported that the employees were carrying the individual down the ladder much like a firefighter would. On arrival, there were heavy smoke and fire conditions throughout the structure.
|Above: Conditions encountered by crews on arrival. |
(Photo by Firefighter/Paramedic Kevin Sosa)
As the crew from Truck 1 completed a 360 degree assessment of the building, window blinds in a basement window could be seen moving. The crew quickly broke the window and extended a ladder into the basement apartment. The occupant of the apartment was able to lie, face-down, on the ladder and was pulled from the burning building by firefighters. This technique was taught and practiced by Rapid City Firefighters exactly two weeks ago during drills in the 700 block of West Street. This morning, their training proved to be invaluable.
In addition to the two aforementioned rescues, at-least four other individuals were assisted from the building by bystanders and firefighters. As a result, no serious injuries and no fatalities occurred. The American Red Cross serving Central and Western South Dakota was called to the scene and is assisting occupants with immediate needs such as lodging, clothing, and medications. Several occupants of the building were evaluated by RCFD Paramedics. All individuals declined treatment and transport.
It took fire crews 30 minutes to stop the forward progress of the fire. Crews remained on scene extinguishing hot spots until about 9:30 am this morning.
The cause and circumstances surrounding the fire are under investigation by the Rapid City Fire Department Fire and Life Safety Division and the Rapid City Police Department.
No injuries to firefighters or responders were reported.
The Rapid City Fire Department wishes to extend its profound thanks to neighboring businesses for their assistance and thoughtful gestures during this incident. In addition to performing a rescue, Collins Siding employees opened their building to displaced occupants, provided rooms for fire investigators to conduct interviews and provided refreshments and food for firefighters. We would also like to thank the Girl Scouts Dakota Horizons for their generous offering of snacks and refreshments to firefighters and responders.
The incident this morning could have had a very, very tragic ending. Were it not for the heroic actions of civilians and first responders, the outcome would have been much, much different.
Additional releases of information from the Rapid City Fire Department regarding this incident are not anticipated at this time. Please contact Lt. Jim Bussell at (605)-394-4180 for questions or comment related to this release.
RCFD Units Responding: Truck 1, Squad 1, Medic 1, Battalion 1, Engine 4, Engine 6, Medic 7
Other Agencies Responding: Pennington County 9-1-1, Rapid City Police Department, South Dakota Highway Patrol, Pennington County Search and Rescue, Whispering Pines Fire Department, Pennington County Fire Administrator, Black Hills Energy, Montana Dakota Utilities, Midco, City of Rapid City Water Division, American Red Cross serving Central and Western South Dakota