Thursday, April 5, 2018

Information Regarding Planned Prescribed Burn at Outdoor Campus West






Tuesday, March 20, 2018

RCFD Awards Two With Life Saving Awards

Awards are a result of heroism during February fire


On Tuesday, the Rapid City Fire Department was on hand at North Middle School and Knollwood Elementary School to present Civilian Life Saving awards to two outstanding young people for saving the lives of their younger siblings during a February 18, 2018 fire in Rapid City. The Civilian Life Saving Award is the highest honor presented to civilians by the Rapid City Fire Department.

To learn more, please read the narratives below. These narratives were shared with students today during our presentations.

The Rapid City Fire Department wishes to extend it's thanks to the staff and administration of Rapid City Area Schools, North Middle School and Knollwood Elementary School for their support in helping us make these presentations today.



Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Monday, March 5, 2018


Vehicle vs Building Results in Fire

No injuries reported after afternoon crash and fire



Rapid City, S.D. – Rapid City Firefighters battled a wind driven, natural gas fed fire at an East Rapid City grocery store earlier this afternoon. Just before 2:30 pm, firefighters from three Rapid City Fire Department stations responded to a report of a vehicle that hit the back of Fresh Start Neighborhood Market near the intersection of Elk Vale Road and Homestead Street. The vehicle was reported to be on fire. An additional alarm was struck and firefighters from the Rapid Valley Fire Department as well as an additional Rapid City Fire Department engine company were dispatched to the scene.

Above: A car on a trailer that became dislodged from the vehicle pulling it burns at the rear of the Fresh Start Neighborhood Market near the intersection of Elk Vale Road and Homestead Street.

 A trailer hauling a passenger car broke away from the pick-up that was pulling it, rolled down hill and into the back of the business. The collision resulted in serious damage to an electrical junction box. The collision caused the vehicle to catch fire. The resulting fire damaged the gas meter on the back of the building. That damage resulted in free flowing natural gas which accelerated the fire.  Smoke that was being pushed by sustained winds approaching 40 miles per hour began to fill the store as well as the adjoining liquor store and casino. Patrons and employees quickly evacuated the building. No one was injured as a result of the crash or during the evacuation.

Firefighters arriving on scene found heavy smoke conditions inside the store as well as outside of the building. They were able to stop fire from progressing into the building and were able to use large volumes of water to continue to cool the building and the surrounding area until the flow of natural gas could be stopped.

Above: Firefighters work to extinguish a vehicle fire and cool the area around a broken natural gas line at the rear of the Fresh Start Neighborhood Market near the intersection of Elk Vale Road and Homestead Street.




Because of the fire and the damage to the meter, Montana Dakota Utilities was forced to dig underground and clamp the gas line feeding the store in an area to the south of the building. This also resulted in a temporary disruption of service to nearby Black Hills Federal Credit Union. Once the flow of gas was stopped, firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the fire and mop up remaining hot spots. Once the store was ventilated, it was discovered no fire had extended inside the store. The store, however, did receive some smoke and water damage as a result of the incident. 

Above: Montana Dakota Utilities crew work to locate and access a natural gas line to help Rapid City Firefighters extinguish a natural gas fed fire at Fresh Start Neighborhood Market near the intersection of Elk Vale Road and Homestead Street.


Strong winds, with gusts over 50 miles per hour, hampered firefighting efforts. The wind, in addition to pushing smoke and fire toward the building, made application of water difficult and limited the use of RCFD aerial apparatus. Because of the strong winds, the 100-foot ladder of one apparatus could only be deployed at a low angle on the leeward side of the building.

Above: Firefighters from RCFD Truck Company 3 ladder the roof of the Fresh Start Neighborhood Market near the intersection of Elk Vale Road and Homestead Street to check for fire extension into the roof after a crash and fire late this afternoon.

All road closures and traffic restrictions were lifted at about 5:00 pm local time. Rapid City Firefighters remained on scene until about 5:30 pm.

In addition to the Rapid Valley Fire Department, the Rapid City Fire Department was assisted by Montana Dakota Utilities as well as West River Electric, the Whispering Pines Fire Department, the Rapid City Police Department, the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, the Pennington County Fire Administrator and an additional Public Information Officer from the Battle Creek Fire Department. The Rapid City Fire Department would also like to thank the employees of Fresh Start Neighborhood Market and Black Hills Federal Credit Union for their cooperation and patience during the incident.

There were no reported injuries to civilians or fire service personnel during the incident.

The cause and circumstances surrounding the crash are under investigation by the Rapid City Police Department.

For questions or comment related to this release, please contact Lt. Jim Bussell, Public Information Officer for the RCFD, at 605-394-4180.


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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

RCFD Reminds Property Owners to Keep Fire Hydrants Clear

Clearing snow from around hydrants saves precious time





Above: A fire hydrant in Downtown Rapid City sits properly cleared to allow firefighters to work freely in the event it should be needed.

Rapid City, S.D. - It is well documented that, because of modern construction and modern furnishings, structure fires burn hotter and faster than ever before. This contributes to occupants having less time to escape than in the past. When fires burn hotter and faster it also reduces the amount of time that time it takes for structural components of a building to fail. For firefighters, this is why getting water on the fire as quickly as possible is so important. 

In Rapid City, the average amount of water carried by the internal tank on board one of our fire engines is about 700 gallons. Each of our engines has a pump that has the minimum capacity to pump up to 1,000 gallons of water per minute. It is easy to see why, at capacity, our tank water doesn't last long. To remedy this, we need to establish a water supply. In the urban setting, that generally means we will utilize a fire hydrant. 

Many people don't realize that it can be very difficult for us to locate the nearest hydrant when we arrive on a fire scene. Bushes and vegetation, vehicles, and poor visibility due to smoke or darkness can all contribute to that difficulty. One of our big concerns at the present time is snow. While we certainly welcome the moisture, piles of snow can prove to be problematic when it comes to locating fire hydrants.

When we arrive on scene, our standard is to establish a water supply within 90 seconds. A firefighter will exit the engine, grab the five-inch Large Diameter Hose (LDH) and drag it to the hydrant. Attached to the LDH is something we call a hydrant bag. The hydrant bag has a hydrant wrench used for opening caps and turning valves, spanner wrenches for tightening fittings, a gate valve for stopping and starting water flow without shutting off the main valve, and a connection to connect hose without threads to the hydrant. 
Above: Firefighter/Medic Mitch Hove uses tools and appliances from the hydrant bag to connect a five-inch Large Diameter Hose to the hydrant for use.

Even when the hydrant is visible, if snow isn't cleared from around the hydrant, it  can cause difficulty in making the connections and makes it much more difficult to locate and keep track of the tools from the hydrant bag. Snow that isn't cleared from around the hydrant can double or triple the amount of time it takes to establish a water supply. Having a reliable water supply is essential to firefighter safety. Those additional minutes could prove to be costly both in terms of property loss and the safety of firefighters.

The Rapid City Fire Department would like to take this opportunity to ask homeowners, property owners, and business managers to ensure all fire hydrants on their property are cleared of snow and easy for firefighters to access. When clearing snow, please give three (3) feet of clearance around the hydrant. It's best if the snow is cleared down to the ground. Make sure there is an opening to the curb to allow us a clear path to drag hose to the hydrant. 


Our organization strives to be as efficient as possible when it comes to responding to emergencies. The help of our community is greatly appreciated when it comes to making sure that we can quickly and efficiently establish a much needed water supply on the scene of a fire.

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.

Above: LDH from a nearby hydrant connects to a fire engine pumping to a fire during an October 2016 fire on E. Anamosa Street in Rapid City.  


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Public Advisory- Rapid City Slash Pile Burning


Rapid City, SD - Slash pile burning will take place in the Springbrook Acres area of Rapid City. The piles are remnants of an extensive fuels reduction project conducted by the Rapid City Fire Department under the direction of Lt. Tim Weaver. The burning is being conducted by a private contractor. Ignitions are expected to last for a period of at least two days. The burning is being allowed as a result of the significant snowfall that occurred over the period of the last 48 hours. The snow cover is expected to persist into the foreseeable future.
Slash pile burn operations shall comply with Rapid City and Pennington County Air Quality Ordinances and the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards. 

In a statement, Lt. Weaver said; “These piles are being burned as a continuation of the wildland fire hazardous fuel reduction project in the Springbrook Acres common area that has taken place over the past 2 years.” Weaver went on to say; “This hazardous fuel reduction project exemplifies the Rapid City Fire Department’s desire to create fire resilient landscapes with in the city limits in areas that are at risk for catastrophic wildfire behavior. This is part of our Survivable Space Initiative which helps landowners in Rapid City create fire adapted landscapes on their property.”
Smoke and flames will be visible clearly on Sheridan Lake Road from the area of the burning operation. Smoke may linger for several days after the piles burn down. The RCFD along with Springbrook Acres will continue to monitor the area in the days following the project. Please DO NOT call 9-1-1 to report the burning piles.
Additonal burn permits have also been issued to the South Dakota National Guard 4/piles located on their property west of 44th St.

For more information on the prescribed burning, please contact Lt. Tim Weaver at (605)-394-5233.

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Sunday, February 18, 2018


Family of Eight Displaced After Late Afternoon Fire

Five children safely escape fire



Rapid City, S.D. – Five children between the ages of 13 and 3 escaped a late afternoon fire that caused serious damage to their home off of Sheridan Lake Road. At 4:30 pm, crews from Stations 1, 3, 5, and 6 of the Rapid City Fire Department responded to 2617 Castle Heights Place for a report of a structure fire. When crews arrived, they found heavy fire in a garage that was situated below a single family residential structure. Crews were able to quickly knock down the fire in the garage. When firefighters entered the living area of the structure, they found that fire had extended into that portion of the home. It took firefighters about 2 hours to completely extinguish the fire, mop up hot spots and complete salvage operations. 



Firefighters were faced with poor road conditions, bitter cold temperatures and near blizzard conditions while fighting the fire. These conditions created a number of different challenges.

Five children between the ages of 13 and 3 where home at the time of the fire. The children noted the smoke and began to quickly evacuate the structure. When they realized that their primary way out of the structure was blocked by thick smoke, they utilized their secondary exit to evacuate the structure. The children- some of whom did not have shoes on when they evacuated- ran through the near blizzard conditions to the safety of a neighbor’s home which they had identified as a meeting place. The neighbor assisted the children with calling for help and remained a place of refuge until the arrival of the American Red Cross serving Central and Western South Dakota. The children reported that they learned how to quickly and safely evacuate their home while at school.

In total, eight occupants have been displaced by the fire and are being assisted by the American Red Cross serving Central and Western South Dakota. There were no reported injuries to firefighters or civilians.

The Rapid City Fire Department was assisted by the Rapid City Police Department, Whispering Pines Fire Department, as well as the Pennington County Fire Administrator. Montana Dakota Utilities and Black Hills Energy also responded to the fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Rapid City Fire Department.

The Rapid City Fire Department would like to take this opportunity to urge families to develop and practice a home fire escape plan. As was demonstrated today, having a plan that is known and practiced by every member of the family could save your life or the lives of your family members. Learn more by visiting our website at http://bit.ly/2EPH9El.

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.



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