Monday, September 30, 2019

Sunday Apartment Fire Stopped by Sprinkler System

Rapid City, S.D. – On Sunday morning, firefighters from Stations 1, 3 and 7 responded to 4226 Kateland Street for a report of a structure fire. When crews arrived at the three-story apartment complex just before 10:00 am, firefighters found light smoke with water flowing from an outside deck. The occupant of the home had been cooking on the grill when an uncontrolled cooking fire occurred. The fire activated a sprinkler head on the balcony of the building which extinguished the fire. No damage to the building was reported.

This marks the sixth fire related sprinkler activation in Rapid City in 2019, and the fifth in little more than a month. Four of the activations have occurred in apartment buildings, one in a correctional facility and one in a large commercial occupancy.

To learn more about the importance of fire sprinklers, visit

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.


Sunday, September 15, 2019

RCFD Responds to Mobile Home Fire

No injuries reported, cause under investigation 

Rapid City, SD – Just after 7:30 pm this evening, Pennington County 9-1-1 received multiple calls reporting a structure fire at 1515 E. St. Patrick Street. Callers reported flames coming from a mobile home and extending into nearby trees. Crews from Stations 1, 4 and 6 were dispatched as well as officers from the Rapid City Police Department. When Engine 4 arrived on scene, they found a single-wide mobile home that was fully involved in fire. Two vehicles in front of the residence were also on fire with fire threatening residences on either side of the structure of origin.

With the help of Rapid City Police Officers, residences nearby were evacuated as a precaution. Firefighters were able to quickly eliminate the threat to adjacent structures and stop the forward progress of the fire. Conflicting witness statements and no one to provide accurate information on the whereabouts of the occupants of the residence prompted Rapid City Firefighters to conduct multiple searches inside the structure. Firefighters also sought assistance from the Rapid City Police Department as well as Regional Health Rapid City Hospital to attempt to locate the occupants of the structure. At about 9:15 pm, the occupants of the home were located and found to be safe. Occupants of the evacuated homes were allowed to return to their homes within about an hour.

Firefighters remained on scene until 10:00 pm extinguishing hot spots.

No injuries to civilians or firefighters were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Rapid City Fire Department.

Updates to this release are not anticipated at this time. For questions or comment related to this release, please contact Lt. Jim Bussell at 605-394-4180.


RCFD Resources Responding- Battalion 1, Truck 1, Squad 1, Engine 4, Medic 4, Engine 6, RCFD Fire and Life Safety Division, RCFD Public Information Officer.

Other Agencies Responding- Rapid City Police Department, Montana Dakota Utilities, Black Hills Energy

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

RCFD to Conduct Drills, Training in Donated Structures

Drills, training to be conducted throughout September

Above: In this October 2018 photo, Rapid City Firefighters conduct drills on West Street near Downtown Rapid City. The building was slated for demolition and was donated to the RCFD to use for training purposes.

Rapid City, S.D. - Beginning at 9:00 am on Wednesday September 11, motorists in the area of East Boulevard and East Kansas City Street will see a heavy Rapid City Fire Department presence as crews will be conducting drills and training evolution's. The evolution's are set to last for the entire month of September and will be conducted in seven separate structures that are slated for demolition sometime this fall.

Firefighters will conduct a number of training evolution's and drills related to fire attack, structural search and rescue, forcible entry, ventilation and firefighter survival. On-duty crews will participate in scheduled drills on September 11, 12 and 13. On-duty crews will also participate in training and drills as their schedule and calls for service allow throughout the remainder of the month. Rapid City Fire Department Recruit Academy 2019-1 will train in the structures late in the month.

Firefighters will utilize a number of different tools and a variety of equipment during the drills and training evolution's. Firefighters will likely be seen wearing full personal protective equipment, including breathing apparatus. A smoke machine will be used to create realistic low-visibility conditions. Live fire will not be used during the drills and training evolution's. Those living nearby or traveling in the area should not be alarmed.

The Rapid City Fire Department wishes to extend its sincere appreciation and gratitude to Mr. Hani Shafai and Dream Design International, Inc. for providing our organization with the opportunity to utilize the structures for training purposes. Currently, the Rapid City Fire Department lacks a designated training facility. The generosity extended by Mr. Shafai will help Rapid City Firefighters operate safely and more efficiently and will help us in our mission to “Prepare, Prevent, Protect”.

In October 2018, the RCFD conducted training under similar circumstances on West Street near Downtown Rapid City. A residential structure slated for demolition was donated to the RCFD to utilize for training and drills. The skills that firefighters were taught during that training were put to use just over a month later as firefighters rescued occupants of an apartment building during a fire in the 2000 block of Cherry Avenue. Rapid City Firefighters have conducted training and drills in a number of other area structures and venues recently. Last fall, the RCFD conducted training at Vickie Powers Park. The Rushmore Mall hosted search training this past March.  
Above: Under the close watch of a young admirer, Engine 4 crews participate in search training at Vickie Powers Park during a November 2018 training evolution.

For questions or comment regarding this release please contact Lt. Jim Bussell, Public Information Officer for the Rapid City Fire Department, at 605-394-4180.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Eleven Set to Join the Ranks of Rapid City's Bravest

RCFD Recruit Academy 2019-1 began Monday

Above: Fire Operations Division Chief Nick Carlson welcomes RCFD Recruit Academy 2019-1 on Monday morning. The group is beginning a 12-week academy to become Rapid City Firefighters.

Rapid City, S.D. -  Earlier today we celebrated the beginning of Rapid City Fire Department Recruit Academy 2019-1. A total of 11 employees will be participating in the 12 week academy-style training program that will test the candidates mentally and physically as they prepare to serve the citizens of Rapid City. Seven of the candidates have been working in an EMS only capacity since March of 2019. Four of the recruits have spent the last two weeks in an orientation process that included basic EMS training. The recruits are scheduled to graduate in early November.

The four newest recruits are:

Sheldon Brakke- Sheldon was born and raised in South Dakota. After his high school graduation, Recruit Brakke joined the United States Marine Corps serving for four years in the infantry. His service in the USMC included two deployments. Sheldon joined the South Dakota Army National
Guard in 2012 and currently holds the rank of Sergeant serving with the 842nd Engineer Company. Recruit Brakke has previous emergency services experience as a Trooper with the South Dakota Highway Patrol where he served for nearly five years. Sheldon is engaged with four children. He enjoys outdoors pursuits in his free time.

Matt Heinrich- Matt was born in Fergus Falls, Minnesota before relocating to Rapid City as a child. Working around his family ranch, Recruit Heinrich learned the values of hard work and dedication. It was while working on the ranch that he discovered his love of firefighting. As a member of the Rapid Valley Fire Department, Matt has gained valuable experience. Recruit Heinrich is engaged and has two daughters.

Evan Kleinpaste- Recruit Kleinpaste grew up in Ohio. He attended college at the University of Wyoming in Laramie where he received a bachelor’s degree. After graduation from the University of Wyoming, Evan enrolled at Casper College where he studied Fire Science and obtained an associate’s degree. Before coming to the RCFD, Recruit Kleinpaste was employed with South Dakota Wildland Fire. He is married and has two children. Recruit Kleinpaste is excited to begin his career with the RCFD.

Coleman Quinlivan- Coleman was born and raised in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. After graduating from Lincoln High School, he moved to Casper, Wyoming to attend Casper College and pursue a degree in Fire Science. After graduating with and associates degree, Recruit Quinlivan began his Fire Service career with the Bureau of Land Management in Casper as a seasonal firefighter. Coleman looks forward to a long and successful career with the RCFD.

The four new recruits join Larry Eide, Drew Hill, Nick Jasnoch, Deitric McConnell, Erich Peterson, Karin Shoemaker and Chad Uchytil in the academy.

We wish to welcome and congratulate our four newest members and wish all 11 members of Recruit Academy 2019-1 a successful academy. 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, August 27, 2019

 RCFD Credits Fire Sprinklers for Stopping Apartment Fires

Rapid City, S.D. – Fire sprinkler protection helped to keep two recent Rapid City apartment fires small, minimizing the damage sustained.  
At around 2:00 pm on Sunday, a fire was reported in a bedroom at the Palms Apartments in the 700 block of Flormann Street. An occupant of the apartment that was at home at the time of the fire escaped without injury. The fire was quickly confined to the mattress and the room of origin by a single sprinkler head. Firefighters from Rapid City Fire Station 4 completed extinguishment of the fire and ventilated the building. The occupants of the affected apartment were temporarily displaced while water and smoke was removed and until a new mattress could be obtained.
According to Larry Fuss, owner of the property, the building in which the fire occurred has 20 apartments and is home to between 30 and 35 occupants. One occupant wrote in a Facebook message to the Rapid City Fire Department that she lives in an apartment in the building in which the fire occurred and that she is thankful for the sprinkler system. “I work nights in healthcare and was asleep when this happened”, she wrote. “I was awakened by fire fighters at my door evacuating us from the building. If not for that sprinkler and the quick action of the first responders this situation could have proven tragic.”
Fuss told the Rapid City Fire Department that the building was remodeled and retrofitted with a sprinkler system in 2012. Fuss is a strong advocate for fire sprinkler protection and says that he encourages other property owners to install them in their properties. “You can’t afford not to”, he said.
Just before 9:00 am on Monday morning, a fire occurred at the Rapid Creek Apartments in the 1100 block of Anamosa Street. Firefighters from Station 1 were dispatched to a report of an automatic fire alarm in one of the buildings at that location. When firefighters arrived, they found that a fire started in the bedroom of an apartment and had been completely extinguished before they arrived. None of the occupants of the apartment were injured. According to management at the Rapid Creek Apartments, there are 15 apartments in the three-story building in which the fire occurred. As many as 80 occupants live in the building. Before firefighters left the scene, water removal efforts were well underway. It did not appear as though the apartment’s occupants were going to be displaced as a result of the fire and sprinkler activation.
 According to statistics compiled by the Rapid City Fire Department’s Fire and Life Safety Division, there were three fire related sprinkler activations in Rapid City 2018. In those instances –one at a hotel, one at a restaurant and one in an apartment complex– damages were estimated at just under $21,000 with property saved estimated at just over $11.2 million. In each instance, the building involved was heavily occupied. No injuries were reported in any of these instances.
In an effort to encourage property owners to install fire sprinklers, the Rapid City Fire Department and the City of Rapid City have joined forces to offer a loan program for the installation of fire sprinklers. This low interest loan program, called the Life Safety Loan, will support up to 80% of the eligible costs to retrofit buildings with fire sprinkler protection. Those with interest in the program can visit the City of Rapid City Finance Office at
The Rapid City Fire Department continues to advocate for the installation of fire sprinkler systems as a means of protecting lives and property from fire. To learn more, visit our website at
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.


Friday, August 16, 2019

RCFD Paramedic Education Program Awarded National Accreditation

Rapid City, SD – The Rapid City Fire Department Paramedic Education Academy has been awarded initial accreditation by the Board of Directors of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). The CAAHEP Board acted upon the accreditation recommendation of the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP).

Through the accreditation process, which includes a thorough review of the program, curriculum, resources, faculty and staff, as well as a site visit of the program, the Rapid City Fire Department Paramedic program was determined to be in substantial compliance with the nationally-approved Standards and Guidelines for educational programs as established by the EMS - Paramedic profession.

The department was granted a Letter of Review and began providing Paramedic education for RCFD employees in 2016. Since that time, 12 RCFD employees have completed the program with a 100% pass rate. The next academy is scheduled to begin in January of 2020 with as many as six RCFD employees slated to participate in the program.  

Regarding the RCFD Paramedic Education Academy, Rapid City Fire Department EMS Training Specialist Lt. Jason Reitz said, “Having a program that can continually meet the demands of the Rapid City Fire Department and the community we serve is so important.”  Lt. Reitz added that accreditation is essential because every Paramedic course offered must be through an accredited program. “This accreditation ensured that we are meeting the standards set forth by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)”, Reitz said. He added, “Being accredited makes the RCFD as one of very few accredited fire department based programs in the nation.”

The RCFD Paramedic Education Program is an intense year-long program. The program consists of 1,300 hours of training in both the classroom and clinical setting. This includes a 400 hour ambulance field internship and a minimum of 276 clinical hours in the hospital setting. Individuals that successfully complete the program and pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) psychomotor and cognitive exams then must successfully become licensed with the South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners (SDBMOE) before beginning an intense months-long Paramedic Field Training and Evaluation Program.

CAAHEP accredits more than 2,200 educational programs that prepare health professionals in 32 different disciplines.  Accreditation is one step in a process that is meant to protect the public and ensure a supply of qualified health care professionals.  For more information about CAAHEP and accreditation, visit .

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.


Farm Credit Services of America Awards RCFD With $2,000 Grant

Grant will be used to purchase tower rescue equipment

Rapid City, S.D. - On Thursday firefighters from Rapid City Fire Station 3 accepted a check for $2,000 from the Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica) for the purchase of tower rescue equipment. The grant is provided through the FCSAmerica Working Here Fund.

Above: Justin Uhrig with FCSAmerica presents RCFD Captain Calen Maningas with a check for $2,000 from the Working Here Fund. The grant will be used for the purchase of tower rescue equipment.

Tower climbing continues to rank among the most dangerous jobs in North America. Incidents involving communications towers are often referred to as high risk, low frequency incidents. Response to tower incidents requires specialized training in addition to specialized equipment. With over 70 towers in Pennington County, it is important for Station 3 personnel to be prepared for this type of incident.

In March, members of South Dakota Task Force 1 –which includes firefighters from Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Aberdeen and Watertown Fire Departments– completed a tower rescue training course in Rapid City.  The FCSAmerica grant will allow Rapid City Firefighters to be well equipped as well as highly trained. Captain Calen Maningas of the Rapid City Fire Department anticipates that RCFD personnel will be fully trained on the new equipment by the end of September 2019 and will begin providing tower rescue training for other communities in May of 2020.
Above: Firefighters from South Dakota Task Force 1 participate in tower rescue training in March 2019 near Stevens High School in Rapid City.

According to a release by FCSAmerica, the Rapid City Fire Department is one of 73 organizations to receive a Working Here Fund grant in the second quarter of 2019.  FCSAmerica awarded $134,850 during the latest grant cycle ending June 30, 2019.

“We understand the importance of keeping our communities safe and appreciate the efforts of the Rapid City Fire Department,” said Michelle Pluta, vice president of retail operations at FCSAmerica’s Rapid City office. Farm Credit Services of America is one of the region’s leading providers of credit and insurance services to farmers, ranchers, agribusiness and rural residents in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.

According to their website, the FCSAmerica Working Here Fund provides grant funding for projects and organizations that make a positive impact in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. In order to be considered, applicants must demonstrate how contributions will be used for purposes that serve agriculture education, young and beginning producers, hunger and nutrition, or essential services and disaster relief.

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.