Monday, December 26, 2016

Rapid City Fire Department Hagglunds Sees Blizzard Action

RCFD Crew Uses Vehicle for I-90 Rescues

Rapid City, S.D. - Fifteen people and four dogs are safe in Rapid City after being stranded on I-90 about 4 miles west of Wicksville, S.D. during a Christmas blizzard. The individuals and their pets were rescued by a two-person crew from the Rapid City Fire Department in a vehicle purchased to bolster blizzard response.

Around 11 pm Christmas night, the Rapid City Fire Department was requested to assist in an area where approximately one dozen vehicles had become stranded as a result of the storm. With Pennington County Search and Rescue already working in an area east of Wall, S.D., an additional tracked rescue vehicle was needed. 

Within about 15 minutes of the request, the Hagglunds and it's crew- Firefighter/Medic Jason Fields and Firefighter/Paramedic Francis Bierman- set out for the area near mile-marker 86. "We loaded up medical supplies, basically since we really didn't have much information or know what we would find," said Bierman, a 7-year veteran of the RCFD. Bierman said, "We took about 20 blankets with us and headed out. It took us about an hour-and-a-half to get there which was way less than we thought it would take."

As the duo encountered stranded vehicles, they would stop to make sure they were not occupied. When they arrived in the area of mile-marker 86, they found a number of vehicles stranded. "It was tough to tell how many vehicles were there," Bierman said in a phone interview. Bierman added, "Visibility was pretty bad at that point." The stranded vehicles included passenger cars, semi-trucks and even snowplows. "The semi-truck drivers wanted to stay with their vehicles," Bierman said. "They were set-up fine and just wanted to wait for the roads to open. The other cars were in worse shape. It was so windy and cold. A lot of them would have run out of fuel by the time anyone got to them".

Bierman and Fields were able to rescue 15 people and 4 dogs from the area. "We took a poll and everyone wanted to come back to Rapid", Bierman said. "Everyone got along really well- including the dogs, which made me happy- so we got turned around and headed back". Bierman said that the Hagglunds rode much smoother than anticipated. He said that the ability to travel in ditches and medians was of huge benefit. The RCFD crew dropped off their passengers and returned to their station around 3:30 am.

Bierman and Fields started their 24-hour shift on Sunday riding Truck 1. Throughout the course of the day, the crew ran a number of fire-alarms and medical calls. The day was busy tracking and preparing for the storm and- after snow began to fall- removing snow from around the station. After a 24-hour shift with little rest, Bierman was looking forward to some sleep. "I'm going to go home and try and get a nap," he said. "It was a pretty long day."

The Rapid City Fire Department purchased the Hagglunds BV206 vehicle in 2014 after the organizations Command Staff reviewed response to Winter Storm Atlas that pummeled the area in early October of 2013. During that storm, mobility and the ability to rescue multiple individuals at one time were glaring issues. Those difficulties were not noted only during Atlas, but also during other past winter storms. The Hagglunds was purchased to solve those issues. Able to transport up to 17 people, the Hagglunds is adaptive to multiple surfaces and terrains.

On Sunday, the decision to purchase the Hagglunds and follow the RCFD Mission of "Prepare, Prevent, Protect" payed dividends. Early Monday morning, the Rapid City Fire Department received a message from a grateful individual via social media. "I can not thank you enough for coming to the rescue," the post reads. "Time was of the essence! Your hard work and dedication is appreciated!!"

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

Firefighter/Paramedic Bierman (L) and Firefighter/Medic Fields (R) after returning from their mission.

The RCFD Hagglunds BV206

Fields and Bierman fuel up after returning from the Wicksville area. The vehicle is ready for the next storm.


Friday, December 23, 2016

What Are You Doing New Years Eve?

If it involves fireworks, here's what you should know:

According to State law and County ordinance, fireworks may be discharged from December 28 through January 1 provided that the grassland fire danger is not in the "Very High" or "Extreme" category.

Learn more about these ordinances and discharge of fireworks by visiting Pennington County's website or the City of Rapid City website.

As always, remember that discharge of fireworks is not allowed in certain areas. Please learn about regulations specific to your community before discharge of fireworks.

Friday, December 16, 2016

RCFD Cold Weather Operations

"Prepare, Prevent, Protect" No Matter What the Temperature Is

By Jim Bussell- RCFD Public Information Officer

Rapid City, S.D. - Just like most everyone in Western South Dakota, we keep a really close eye on the weather. The weather is one of the factors that plays a major role in what we do and how we do it. For our organization, there is no such thing as a "snow day". Generally, it seems that when the weather is bad, we get busier. There isn't one single factor that we can point to. I'm not even certain that there is data to support that statement. Simply put, though, it feels like when the weather turns, so too does the call volume. Or, at least, the complexity of calls seems to change a little bit.

Ask a Paramedic that has been around for awhile and they will tell you that they've delivered more babies in snow storms than fair weather days. Many of our firefighters will recall that some of the most memorable fires have happened in extreme cold. When the weather is at it's worst, the Rapid City Fire Department is at it's best.

A common question from many people is; "What do you, as a department, do to prepare for cold weather?" For the Rapid City Fire Department, cold-weather operations and preparation for inclement weather takes place on many fronts.

At a personal level, most firefighters prepare for the cold weather season well ahead of time. On duty days, it's not uncommon to see back-packs or bags of all shapes and sizes riding on the apparatus. Among the items our firefighters carry, extra gloves, socks, stocking hats and, on occasion, goggles of some sort. Because none of us knows where duty may take us throughout the course of a shift, we must be ready for just about anything. During cold weather, staying dry is a key component to keeping warm and being able to function at a high level.

Every morning, Rapid City Firefighters participate in a shift briefing. This briefing helps lay out the framework for the day but also serves as an opportunity to increase situational awareness with regard to the weather. This morning, crews reviewed operation of the Hagglunds vehicle and will spend time reviewing how to chain up fire apparatus should the conditions require it. The big conversation this morning regarding this particular storm has centered around the dangerous cold.

When you are in the business of emergency response during poor winter weather, nothing comes easy. A task like moving a patient from a home to an ambulance requires planning. Our employees take a great deal of care ensuring that patients are moved in and out of the elements as quickly and safely as possible while, at the same time, ensuring that they remain as comfortable as possible. This is not always easily done.

Everything requires careful thought in inclement winter weather conditions. Parking a fire apparatus for long periods of time can be problematic. The driver/operator must put the engine or truck in pump gear to ensure water circulates through the pump to prevent the pump from freezing up. If we have a fire, nozzles must be kept slightly open to ensure water flow so that the nozzles and hoses don't freeze solid. Hose-lines are not easily manipulated or moved. Fittings used to connect to fire hydrants frequently freeze to the hydrant and the hydrant itself may need to be attended to by the Water Department. This doesn't begin to address issues caused by the water used to fight the fire freezing and creating an additional weight hazard and causing hazardous footing conditions.

Long story short, your Rapid City Fire Department is always ready and proud to serve no matter what the weather brings. The cold and snow do bring additional challenges that we are prepared to meet, even when the thermometer drops around or below zero. Please do us a favor and help keep fire hydrants unobstructed and clear of snow. Be safe with ignition sources and do your part to ensure that we don't have to fight fire in this weather. Stay safe and enjoy your snow day, Rapid City. 

For questions  or comments regarding this release, please contact RCFD Public Information Officer Jim Bussell at (605)-394-4180.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

RCFD Veteran Wildfire Mitigation Crew Plans to Burn Slash Piles
Prescribed burning dependent on snow cover

Rapid City, S.D. – The Rapid City Fire Department plans to conduct slash-pile burning in the Skyline Drive area of Rapid City beginning Friday and continuing Monday. The burning will depend on snow cover from a snow storm that is to affect the area later this week. Should the snowfall totals fall short of forecast amounts, the burning will be postponed.

The pile burning will be conducted by the Rapid City Fire Department Veteran Wildfire Mitigation Crew under the direction of Lt. Tim Weaver. In a statement, Lt. Weaver said; “These piles are being burned as a continuation of the wildland fire hazardous fuel reduction project in the Skyline Wilderness Park 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 from the area of the burning operation. Smoke may linger for several days after the piles burn down. The RCFD Veteran Wildfire Mitigation Crew will continue to monitor the area in the days following the project. Please DO NOT call 9-1-1 to report the burning piles.

For more information on the prescribed burning, please contact Lt. Tim Weaver at (605)-394-5233 or at (605)-390-4114.


Monday, November 14, 2016

Fire Chief Mike Maltaverne Announces Retirement

Maltaverne to end 26 year career


Rapid City, S.D. - After a successful 26 year career with the Rapid City Fire Department, Fire Chief Mike Maltaverne is announcing his retirement, effective December 31, 2016. Chief Maltaverne informed Mayor Steve Allender and the organization last week.
Chief Maltaverne began his career with the Rapid City Fire Department in September of 1990. Since that time, Maltaverne has served in several important positions within the department including Firefighter/Medic, Operations Lieutenant, Education and Information Lieutenant, Operations Captain, Assistant Chief of Education and Information. He was named Rapid City Fire Chief on April 27, 2010.
“I am able to move on to the next chapter of my life knowing full-well that I have been able to accomplish virtually every one of my goals for my career,” said Maltaverne. “Most people are not afforded the opportunity to step away at the top of their game. I am fortunate to be able to do that”.
As top accomplishments, Maltaverne cites long range planning as one of the most important. This includes completion and implementation of the Rapid City Fire Department strategic plan, long range vehicle replacement planning, a schedule for key equipment purchases such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and radios, and future station locations. “All of these things point back to creating financial stability for the department”, said Maltaverne. “It helps eliminate peaks and valleys in the budget”.
Maltaverne said that improving and increasing the level of professionalism within the Rapid City Fire Department is another accomplishment that he takes great pride in. The advent of the Rapid City Fire Department Honor Guard, Local 1040 Pipe and Drum, clearly stated vision, values and mission are examples of that professionalism. “To be able to provide these things brings a higher level of credibility for the organization”, Maltaverne said.
In 2017, the Rapid City Fire Department will be fully staffed; an accomplishment that Maltaverne says is among the biggest. “Full staffing means that the organization is at a level that best suits the needs of the community”.
Chief Maltaverne has had a very rewarding career with the Rapid City Fire Department. “I got to work alongside the most dedicated group of employees there is,” said Maltaverne. “We were able to create a proactive approach to managing and mitigating risk in the community. We have also been successful in fostering solid and productive relationships with cooperating agencies and organizations.”
After retirement, Chief Maltaverne will re-locate to Bozeman, MT where he has accepted a position with the Bozeman Fire Department.
Regarding Chief Maltaverne’s retirement, Mayor Steve Allender offered these remarks: "Chief Maltaverne's career has been dedicated to the safety of the citizens of the Rapid City community and, as a community, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Mike for his tireless efforts in educating the community on fire safety, his leadership and guidance of the department, and his sheer commitment to our citizens," said Mayor Allender.  "We thank him and wish him all the best in his retirement."
The Rapid City Fire Department wishes Chief Maltaverne all the best as he begins a new chapter in his life. We thank him for his dedicated service to our community and organization, for his mentorship and for his leadership. We will miss you, Mike.
For questions or comment related to this release, please contact Lt. Jim Bussell at 605-394-4180


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Local 1040 Members Home After Successful World Finals

Rapid City, S.D. - The Rapid City Fire Department Combat Challenge team has returned to Rapid City after a successful week at the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge World Challenge XXV in Montgomery, Alabama. The team finished 15th out of 41 in the team standings.

The team, comprised of Firefighter/Medic Justin Perkins, Firefighter/Paramedic Chris “Paco” Ciocarlin, Firefighter/Medic Marshall Keefe, Firefighter/Paramedic Kris Anderson, and Firefighter/Medic Mark Falcon, had four members in the top 100 individual runs. Four members of the five member team posted personal best runs during the World Challenge XXV.

The “Lion’s Den”, reserved for those competitors that run the course in less than or equal to 100 seconds, now includes Firefighters Keefe and Anderson after runs of 1:37.30 and 1:39.93 respectively. Perkins, who was already a member of the “Lion’s Den”, also turned in a qualifying run of 1.39.64 during the finals. Falcon turned in a personal best 2.01.00 in only the third competition of his career.

During the Team Open Relay competition, Local 1040 members ran a department-record 1.17.21. This was good enough for 21st overall out of 56.

The Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge is billed as “the toughest two minutes in sports”. During the competition, firefighters dressed in full personal protective equipment (PPE), including Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) run an obstacle course designed to push their limits mentally and physically.

Competitors begin with a five-story stair climb while shoulder-carrying a 42 lb. hose pack. Once they reach the top, competitors pull a separate 42 lb. hose pack and 7 lb. rope up the five story tower and deposit the rolled hose in a box. Then, the competitor runs down the tower to a machine known as the “Keiser Force Machine”. During this obstacle, competitors must drive a 160 lb. beam five feet with a nine-and-a-half pound sledge hammer. Upon completion, competitors run 140 feet, picks up a charged 1.75 inch diameter hose-line and sprints 80 feet where they spray water quickly onto a small target. The competitor must then drop the hose, pick up a 175 lb. mannequin and drag the mannequin backwards for 100 feet. Most competitors can finish the course quicker than the author of this release can write about it.

These employees exemplify that health and wellness are the key components to a firefighter’s ability to perform job related tasks quickly, efficiently, and safely. The Rapid City Fire Department is very proud of Team Local 1040 and their performance on the world stage. No one within our organization is surprised by their performance as we have the opportunity to see the dedication that they put into their craft on a near daily basis. We congratulate Team 1040 members on an outstanding showing and thank them for representing our department, city, and state in such an honorable fashion.

For questions or comment related to this release, please contact Lt. Jim Bussell, Rapid City Fire Department Public Information Officer, at (605)-863-0061 or via e-mail at

Team 1040 at the World Challenge. Team members L to R: FF/Medic Justin Perkins, FF/Medic Marshall Keefe, FF/Paramedic Kris Anderson, FF/Medic Mark Falcon, FF/Paramedic Chris "Paco" Ciocarlin
Photo Courtesy RCFD Combat Challenge Team


SD Wildland Fire Plans Prescribed Burn for Today, 11-2-16

Custer, S.D. - Below is a release from SD Wildland Fire, SD Game Fish and Parks, and Custer State Park regarding the Apple Tree Prescribed Fire in Custer State Park planned for today. In addition, ignitions will continue on the Long Draw RX near Hill City today. Smoke will be clearly visible. The public is reminded that this is a prescribed burn and it is not necessary to call 9-1-1 to report the smoke. 

Please contact SD Wildland Fire at the contact information below for questions or comments related to the release.

Interagency – News Release

Contacts:   Jeni Lawver, (605) 393-8011 or cell (605) 381-7232, South Dakota Wildland Fire Division

Date: 11/01/16
Prescribed Fire to be Ignited in Custer State Park

Custer, S.D. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s Wildland Fire Division, Custer State Park and South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks are planning to ignite the Apple Tree prescribed fire on Wednesday, Nov. 2. Ignition will continue Thursday, Nov. 3, as conditions allow.

Firefighters are planning on burning approximately 624 acres. This project is located in Custer State Park, off of the southern end of the Wildlife Loop Road.

This interagency prescribed fire is a cooperative effort with grant funding provided by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. This grant funding helps meet land management objectives that otherwise could not have been accomplished due to budget constraints.

Objectives of the burn are to improve wildlife habitat, provide quality forage and reduce hazardous fuels in an effort to create and maintain a forested landscape that inhibits the spread of unwanted fire to the crowns of trees. Weather conditions will be monitored closely to ensure prescribed fire conditions align with management objectives for the burn.

Prescribed fire is used to maintain healthy native vegetation and is needed to prevent the encroachment of invasive species. Fire also reduces the hazardous buildup of debris and dead vegetation which can fuel wildfires.

Smoke may be visible in the surrounding areas, and can linger for several days after ignition has been completed. Fire crews will secure, patrol and monitor fire lines as appropriate for public and firefighter safety. For more information on smoke management visit:

Agriculture is a major contributor to South Dakota’s economy, generating $25.6 billion in annual economic activity and employing over 115,000 South Dakotans. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture's mission is to promote, protect and preserve this industry for today and tomorrow. Visit us online at or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Monday, October 31, 2016

USFS Plans Prescribed Burn for Tomorow, 11-1-2016

Rapid City, S.D. - The United States Forest Service has planned a prescribed burn for November 1, 2016. Please see the release below for more info.

The RCFD is augmenting the USFS release of information to help prevent 9-1-1 calls reporting the prescribed burn from being made. Last week during the Whaley Prescribed Fire, Pennington County 9-1-1 received a high volume of calls reporting the burn. Local fire stations also received a number of calls.

Follow Great Plains Fire Information at current updates.


 Long Draw Prescribed Fire Planned Tuesday, November 1, 2016 near Hill City, SD

Rapid City, SD, October 31, 2016 – Black Hills National Forest Central Zone Fire is planning to ignite 1,100 acres on the Long Draw project on Tuesday, November 1, weather permitting.

This project is located approximately 5 miles south west of Hill City, SD near Newton Fork Road, south of Reno Gulch road, Odakota Mountain and west of the Medicine Mountain Boy Scout Camp.

The goal of the Long Draw Prescribed Fire is to establish and maintain a mosaic of vegetation conditions over the project area. This project will lessen the severity and extent of future wildfires in the project area by breaking up the continuity of dead, downed fuels, ultimately reducing fuel loads. Fire will also be utilized as a tool to thin pine regeneration and increase canopy base heights. Additionally, the burn will stimulate browse for big game species.

“Low intensity fire benefits the landscape by cleaning the forest floor and destroys diseases and insects that prey on trees,” said Adam Ziegler, Burn Boss Trainee. “It provides valuable nutrients that enrich the soil and heat needed for seed germination.”

Fire reduces competition for nutrients by removing debris and weaker trees and allows established trees to grow stronger and healthier.

The water supply is increased when fire removes a thick stand of shrubs. With fewer plants absorbing water, streams have more water to benefit plants and animals.

Smoke will be visible from Rapid City, Hill City, Custer, SD, surrounding areas and from Highway 16/385.  Smoke will be visible in the days following ignition and firefighters will remain on scene monitoring the burn for as long as needed.

Weather conditions will be monitored closely to assure prescribed fire conditions align with management objectives for the burn.

For more information on Black Hills National Forest prescribed fire, visit

Follow Great Plains Fire Information online at: for current fire and prescribed fire updates.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

RCFD Crews Gain Quick Knockdown on Grass Fire

Rapid City, S.D. - Rapid City Firefighters were called to an early-afternoon grass fire today near 15 E. North St. At 12:25 pm, crews from stations 1 and 7 responded to the report of a grass fire burning between the railroad tracks and mobile homes on E. Watertown Street. When crews arrived 5 minutes later, they found a fire burning on a slope above the tracks and below the homes.

The Rapid City Fire Department has responded to a number of fires in this area over the past several years. With that in mind, crews took advantage of favorable weather, resources on scene and capitalized on the opportunity to reduce hazardous fuels in the area. With solid containment lines in place, crews conducted a burnout operation on hazard fuels inside of the containment lines. This fuels reduction project also helps to minimize threats to neighboring residences in the future from grass fires similar to todays.  

The fire and subsequent fuels reduction project burned less than 1/4 acre. The fire was determined to have been human caused. The Rapid City Police Department was on scene speaking with neighbors. There were no injuries reported.

As the continued unseasonably warm and dry weather continues, so does the increased fire danger. The Rapid City Fire Department reminds everyone to be careful with heat sources and sources of ignition. Those outdoor enthusiasts who are driving and parking their vehicles should be mindful of where their vehicles are parked and refrain from parking in tall, dry vegetation. Sportsman are encouraged to keep a fire extinguisher in their vehicle, carry a shovel, exercise caution and pay close attention as they go about their outdoor pursuits. 

Please contact Lt, Jim Bussell, Public Information Officer for the Rapid City Fire Department, at (605)-394-4180 for questions related to this release.

Above: Crews perform a burnout operation between the fire and mobile homes on E. Watertown to minimize future grass fire threats.

Above: Firefighters build containment line to stop fire spread near homes on E. Watertown St.

Above: A firefighter uses a hose to spray water to keep a tree from igniting.

Above: Rapid City Firefighters perform a burnout operation to reduce hazard fuels.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October 28th is Winter Weather Preparedness Day

In South Dakota, October 28th has been designated as Winter Weather Preparedness Day. While our current weather pattern does not necessarily lend itself to thinking about winter weather, South Dakotans know how quickly things can change. Now is a great time to make sure that you and your family are ready for whatever comes our way.

One of the first things that you can do to prepare is to educate yourself as to what different watches, warnings and advisories issued by the National Weather Service mean. A "Winter Storm Watch" means that there is significant potential for hazardous winter weather within 48 hours. Again, a watch does not mean that hazardous winter weather is imminent, it simply means that it is possible. A "Winter Storm Warning" is issued when these conditions are imminent or occurring. The criteria for both can be found here

One of the biggest issues that we, as a department, encountered in 2013 during Winter Storm Atlas was the number of people stranded as a result of not heeding the watches and warnings issued by the National Weather Service. In one particular instance, two of our apparatus became stuck as a direct result of other motorists becoming stuck and blocking the road. This occurred near Wal-Mart on the south-side of Rapid City. As the storm ramped up, many people then made the decision to go get provisions at that time instead of doing so ahead of time. This had a definite impact on our ability to respond to emergencies in that area. Stranded motorists then required help that, in-turn, compounded an already difficult situation. 

Significant winter weather can pose many different hazards. In South Dakota, one of the major issues we deal with is impacts to travel. It is important to heed travel advisories and restrictions. If you must venture out, there are several things to keep in mind. First, let others know what your travel plans are including a timetable and your planned travel routes. If possible, it's best not to travel alone. You also want to make sure that you have plenty of fuel and that your vehicle is in good, working condition. Of course, a winter survival kit is very, very important to have in your vehicle. Items in the kit should include:

• Shovel and flashlight with extra batteries 
• First aid kit and medications 
• Non-perishable food, such as granola bars & nuts 
• Candles and matches • Extra clothing, sleeping bags, or blankets 
• Jumper cables and tire chains 
• Battery-operated radio 
• Cell phone with fully charged batteries 
• Windshield scraper and brush 
• Brightly colored cloth to tie on the antenna so the vehicle can be easily located

If you become stuck or stranded, do not leave the vehicle. Call 9-1-1 to notify them that you are stranded and give your location. You can find more information on what to do if stranded by visiting the Pennington County Emergency Management website here.

In addition to being prepared for winter travel, there is always the potential that you may be stuck indoors for long periods of time. The Rapid City Fire Department is among the many organizations that recommend building an emergency kit for your home. This kit will hep you and your family stay safe and self-sufficient for up to 72 hours during many types of emergencies, including winter storms. 

Your emergency kit should contain the basic essentials that your family will require in the event of an emergency. Your kit should be tailored to meet the unique needs of each family. There are many great resources out there to help guide you as you build your kit. The American Red CrossFEMA, and Pennington County Emergency Management all have printable resources on their websites to help you build your own kit.

As this post is being written, it is sunny and 65 degrees outside. "Old Man Winter" certainly does not feel like he is anywhere close. Those of us living in "The Land of Infinite Variety" know, however, that things can change very, very quickly. Take the time now to prepare for upcoming winter weather to help keep your family safe and comfortable during the storm.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Early Morning Apartment Fire in Downtown Area

Rapid City, S.D. - An early morning fire in a five-unit apartment building resulted in no injuries, but has displaced seven occupants.

At 5:49 am, units from three Rapid City Fire Department stations responded to a report of a structure fire at 1018 Columbus St. in Rapid City. When crews arrived six minutes later, they noted heavy smoke coming from windows and a door on the top floor of a two-story apartment building. Flames were visible from at least one upstairs window.

Crews entered the building and encountered heavy smoke and high heat. It took them about 15 minutes to knock-down the visible flames. Additional crews made entry into adjacent apartments to notify residents and help them to evacuate the building.

Crews found that fire had extended into the walls and the attic. Operations to overhaul- a process to find hidden fire and heat- were extensive. Crews were on scene until just after 9 am to complete that process.

Fire damage was limited to the apartment where the fire is believed to have started and the adjacent hallway. Significant clean-up of smoke and water damage will be required throughout the rest of the building. For that reason, all occupants of the structure will be displaced, at-least temporarily. The American Red Cross, serving Central and Western South Dakota, was on scene and is assisting all occupants with immediate needs.

The Rapid City Fire Department was also assisted by Montana Dakota Utilities, Black Hills Energy, the Rapid City Police Department and Pennington County Search and Rescue.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Rapid City Fire Department Fire and Life Safety Division.

There were no civilian or fire service injuries reported.

The Rapid City Fire Department would like to take the opportunity to remind you that working smoke alarms and a well-practiced escape plan are essential to help keep you and your loved ones safe in the event of a fire. Smoke alarms should be tested monthly and replaced every ten years. It is also important to have and practice an escape plan. An escape plan should include two ways out of every room in the home as well as a meeting place. Practice your plan at least twice per year.

Please contact Rapid City Fire Department Public Information Officer Lt. Jim Bussell at (605)-394-4180 with questions related to this release.


Firefighters look for hot spots in the “overhaul” process. The smoke and heat line is clearly visible on the walls either side of the firefighter pictured. This is a clear illustration of why it is important to stay low and evacuate quickly whenever there is a fire in your home. This is the hallway where crews entered to extinguish the fire.

Firefighters work to locate hot spots in the “overhaul” process. During this process, heat spotters, thermal imaging cameras (TIC) and even the senses are used to locate hidden heat. Careful consideration is paid to limiting damage and conserving property.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Six New Recruits Begin RCFD Careers

Rapid City, S.D. - On Monday, six new individuals began their careers with the Rapid City Fire Department. They have joined with six new employees that began in August and are now all taking part in a 10-week academy. The recruits are set to graduate in mid-December and will begin riding apparatus at that time.
Brian Shearer is a 2009 graduate of Rapid City Stevens HS. Brian enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he was in the infantry and served on a deployment to Afghanistan. Brian is married with one young son. He is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys hunting and fishing.
Jesse Bean was born and raised in Wasilla, Alaska. Jesse is a 2012 graduate of Dakota State with a degree in Education. Jesse has previous experience in the fire service as he was employed by the Mitchell, SD Fire Department for two years.
Jacob Maggart is originally from Iowa. After high school graduation, Jake joined the United States Marine Corps as an infantryman in 2009. Jake deployed to Afghanistan in 2010/2011. After he ended active duty, Jake moved to Denver, CO with his wife, Cindy. Jake is excited to begin a career in fire and emergency services after spending the last few years working in an office job.
Tanner Urbaniak is a native of Sturgis and a graduate of Black Hills State University with a degree in Biology. Tanner has four years of experience with the Sturgis Fire Department and two years of experience with the Sturgis Ambulance Service. Tanner is currently enrolled in Paramedic training.
Ben McKee was born in Rapid City and grew up in Hill City. Ben is a 2013 graduate of Hill City High School. Ben has previous fire service experience with the United States Forest Service where he spent three seasons and has been a member of Hill City Ambulance Service for the past four years. Ben graduated Paramedic training in 2015.
Steve McCollar grew up in Sioux Falls and moved to the Black Hills in 1999. Steve started his fire service career in 200 as a volunteer with the Sturgis Fire Department. In 2003, Steve began a career with the Rapid City Fire Department. He left the department in 2014 to pursue other interests. Steve is excited to return to the Rapid City Fire Department and for a renewed opportunity to serve our community. Steve has two sons, ages 11 and 13. They enjoy outdoors activities in their free time.
The Rapid City Fire Department is excited for our new-recruits to begin their careers and believe that they will have long, and fulfilling careers as Rapid City's Bravest. 

Please contact Rapid City Fire Department Public Information Officer Lt. Jim Bussell at (605)-394-4180 with questions related to this release.


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Early Morning Fire on City's South Side

Rapid City, S.D.- Rapid City Fire crews extinguished an early morning residential structure fire just before 5 am this morning.

At 4:43 am, crews from stations 4, 1, and 6 were dispatched to 4111 Wild Flower Dr. for a report of a structure fire. When Engine 4 arrived four minutes later, the crew found smoke and flames coming from a wall between the main door to the residence and the attached garage. All occupants of the home were out prior to fire crews arriving.

The fire was quickly knocked down. Crews then worked to ensure that there were no hot spots. The fire was completely extinguished in less than an hour. Fire damage was limited to the garage area of the structure. Minor smoke damage occurred in the living area of the home.

The American Red Cross, serving Central and Western South Dakota, was called to assist the family with immediate needs. The Rapid City Fire Department was also assisted by the Rapid City Police Department, Montana Dakota Utilities, and Black Hills Energy.

There were no reported injuries to civilians or Fire Service personnel. The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Rapid City Fire Department Fire and Life Safety division.

The Rapid City Fire Department would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that a well planned and practiced escape plan can save lives in the event of a fire in your home. That plan should include working smoke detectors on every level of your home. For more info on escape planning, visit

No updates regarding this incident are anticipated at this time. Please contact Rapid City Fire Department Public Information Officer Jim Bussell at (605)-394-4180 for questions related to this release.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

New Way to Request a RCFD Appearance

The Rapid City Fire Department remains firmly committed to community relations and public education. However, over the years, the volume of requests for RCFD appearances at community events has increased dramatically. This, coupled with dramatic increases in calls for service, dictates that the RCFD look at new ways to handle these requests.

Effective September 14, 2016, all requests for RCFD apparatus and crew appearances, public education requests, presentations or speaking engagements, and fire station tours will go through a vetting process. This process will seek to determine whether or not the appearance falls within established guidelines for RCFD participation in community events.

Guidelines for appearances include, but are not limited to:

-All requests must be received no less than 14 days in advance.

-While firefighters enjoy participating in community events, our first priority is providing quality, timely, and professional emergency services to those who live in, work in, and visit our community. We may not be able to accommodate all event requests due to training obligations, call volume and other scheduling conflicts.

-If a fire crew attends an event, they will typically remain “in service” and stage the apparatus somewhere that allows them to leave quickly if they are dispatched to an emergency.

-Crew visits at community events are typically scheduled for 1-2 hours, with the understanding that an emergency response may cause the crew to arrive late to the event, to leave abruptly, or in some cases, to not be able to show up at all.

-It is highly recommended that the event not be centered on an appearance by the Rapid City Fire Department, but rather should be approached as a complimentary element to the program.

Individuals and groups that wish to have the RCFD attend their event or tour the fire station should visit our website,, and click on "Fire Department Appearance Request" on the "Information" pane. Fire Department Appearance Request can also be found under the Community Involvement" tab on the right side of the page.

Individuals or groups that wish to have our organization attend their event or gathering or that wish to take a group tour of a fire station should complete the "Appearance Request" form and submit it to RCFD Headquarters via mail, e-mail, fax, or in person. The from must be signed and should be received by the RCFD no less than 14 days in advance of the event.

Upon receipt of the form, the RCFD will contact the individual listed on the from to acknowledge that the from was received by our organization. The request will then be reviewed by our Command Staff. Submitting the form does not guarantee approval.

We believe that, through this process, we will be better able to provide quality education and information at community events while continuing to provide the high quality emergency services that our community has come to know and expect from the Rapid City Fire Department.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

RCFD Responds to Two More Gas Line Ruptures

Rapid City, S.D. – The Rapid City Fire Department responded to two separate gas line ruptures this afternoon, the second and third calls of its type in the past 24 hours. One of those ruptures forced the evacuation of nearby homes. These incidents come on the heels of a ruptured four-inch gas line in the downtown area yesterday. That rupture forced the closure of East Blvd. and disrupted traffic for about two hours.

Just before 1 pm this afternoon, Station 3 crews were dispatched to the area of 48th and Baldwin Street intersection in the construction area for a report of a ruptured gas line. Construction workers in that area struck a two-inch gas line. The rupture forced Station 3 crews to temporarily evacuate approximately eight (8) homes in the area as a precaution. Montana Dakota Utilities crews arrived quickly and had the leak stopped in less than an hour. Once the leak was stopped, affected homes were monitored for flammable gas. No hazards were identified during that monitoring. As of 1:50 pm MDT, all temporary evacuations were lifted. No injuries were reported.

While crews on the west-side were working on the 48th Street incident, a second gas line rupture caused by construction was reported at 1:28 pm at 901 Fulton Street. A service line to a residence was punctured during the course of construction work at that location. MDU was on scene prior to the RCFD arriving and had the leak stopped very quickly. No injuries were reported.

While these ruptures were a result of construction, they serve as a great reminder to homeowners to dial 811 in South Dakota before you dig. Homeowners and contractors alike who plan to dig are required to notify South Dakota 811 prior to beginning their work. For more information, visit

For questions regarding this release, please contact Lt. Jim Bussell at the information provided below.


Lt. Jim Bussell
Rapid City Fire Department
Public Information Officer
Work: (605)-394-4180 @RapidCityFire