Wednesday, April 13, 2022


The Rapid City Fire Department Welcomes Four To Join the Ranks Of Rapid City's Bravest

New recruits begin Fire Training Academy


Rapid City, S.D. - The Rapid City Fire Department has added four recruits to begin their careers with the department. The newest RCFD recruits were hired to help with the department's increasing call volume, as well as to help fill vacancies left by those who have left the job and those who have retired. Graduation will take place for all four recruits on June 3, 2022. 


The recruits are:


Dayton Butler - Recruit Butler has lived in Colorado, Alaska, New Mexico, and South Dakota. He decided to join the Rapid City Fire Department, because of the brotherhood. He says after he graduated college, he missed the friends, family, and brotherhood of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology soccer team. He says he is also following in his grandfather's foot steps, who was a Fire Chief in Texas for the Army. His hobbies include motorcycles, camping, and cars. Before joining the Rapid City Fire Department, Recruit Butler worked in oilfield safety, retail management, and plumbing.


Austin Goddard - Recruit Goddard grew up in Tucson, Arizona. He decided to join the Rapid City Fire Department, because he wanted to help the community. He says he wants to serve the people of rapid City and believes he can make a difference in others lives by helping those in need, no matter how big or small. His hobbies include mountain biking. Before joining the Rapid City Fire Department, Recruit Goddard worked as a volunteer firefighter in Spearfish. 

Issaih Allickson - Recruit Allickson grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. He decided to join the Rapid City Fire Department, because of the different services that are provided. He has always had a drive to serve the community he lives in and be there to help them to the best of his ability. His hobbies include biking and working out. Before joining the Rapid City Fire Department, Recruit Allickson worked in medical transport and was also an on call firefighter.

Styles Inmon - Recruit Inmon grew up in North Dakota and Washington. He decided to join the Rapid City Fire Department, because he wanted the comradery that he once knew in the military and the sense of pride in being a part of something bigger than himself. He also wants to show his kids what it means to serve. He says just because life knocks you down, doesn't mean you stay down, you get up and drive on. His hobbies include riding his Harley Davidson. Before joining the Rapid City Fire Department, Recruit Inmon worked in the oilfield and spent six years as active Army. 


The Rapid City Fire Department is excited to have these outstanding recruits join our ranks. Please join us in congratulating and welcoming these fine individuals.



Tuesday, September 7, 2021


The Rapid City Fire Department Welcomes Eighteen To Join the Ranks Of Rapid City's Bravest

New recruits begin Fire Training Academy


Rapid City, S.D. - The Rapid City Fire Department has added eighteen recruits to begin their careers with the department. The newest RCFD recruits were hired to help with the department's increasing call volume, as well as to help fill vacancies left by those who have retired. Four of the recruits have already been working for the department as EMS only and will now join the new fourteen members to go through the twelve week academy. Graduation will take place for all eighteen recruits on November 19, 2021. 


The recruits are:


Laura Adrian - Recruit Adrian started with the Rapid City Fire Department in January of 2021 as EMS only and in June of 2021 was able to complete her Paramedic certification. She started in Fire and EMS with Battle Creek Fire Department in 2018 and has also worked with Keystone Ambulance and Custer County Search and Rescue. Recruit Adrian enjoys portrait photography, teaching music, hiking, rock climbing, and writing.


Daniel Ames - Recruit Ames grew up on a farm in Northeastern South Dakota. He developed a fondness for being outside and playing in the dirt with farm animals. As Recruit Ames grew older, he focused on sports and academics. He says his adventurous spirit brought him to the Black Hills where he attended college. After graduating, he moved to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where he played music, hiked hundreds of mountains, snowboarded, guided snowmobiles, played softball, and golfed extensively. Eventually, Recruit Ames joined the United States Forest Service and discovered wildland firefighting while working as a dispersed camping ranger. After he spent the summer working for the United States Forest Service in Montana, he was excited to come back to the Black Hills and settle into a lifelong career. 


Zachary Auer - Recruit Auer grew up in Colorado, but moved to Laramie, Wyoming when he was 18 years old. He attended the University of Wyoming to become a high school math teacher, but ended up falling in love with the fire service while volunteering on the side. He enjoys fly fishing, big game hunting, duck hunting, golfing, and leather working. Recruit Auer married his wife in June of 2021 and says they are excited to start their new lives in Rapid City.


Luke Biers - Recruit Biers was born in Omaha, Nebraska, but raised here in Rapid City. He became an EMT right before he got hired with the Rapid City Fire Department. During his free time he enjoys going to the gym, golfing, hiking, snowboarding, fishing, and spending time with family and friends. 


Justin Budd - Recruit Budd grew up on a buffalo ranch in Nebraska. He graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. Recruit Budd served as a law enforcement officer in Nebraska for a few years and fell in love with helping the community. He says he has always wanted to serve as a firefighter medic and is excited he now has the opportunity to do so. 


Daniel Butchart - Recruit Butchart grew up in a small town in California. He has two years experience as an EMT and is also a Paramedic. Recruit Butchart says he wanted to be a firefighter paramedic since he was seven years old. 


Bryce Cartee - Recruit Cartee moved to Rapid City from Billings, Montana and is originally from Davenport, Iowa. He's been a volunteer firefighter for five years and an EMT for almost two years. Recruit Cartee has one cat named Purr Monster and enjoys doing anything outdoors, including biking, running, and kayaking. He says he is very excited for the opportunity to work for the Rapid City Fire Department and can't wait to expand his medical and fire knowledge. 


Connor Cumella - Recruit Cumella was born in the Black Hills and enjoys camping, hiking, golfing and just about anything involving the outdoors. He enjoys spending most of his time with his family and dog. Recruit Cumella says he's always wanted to do something greater than himself and getting to work for the Rapid City Fire Department is a great way for him to give back to the great community that he grew up in. 


Ethan Esposti - Recruit Esposti was born and raised in the Black Hills. He went to high school in Hill City and has worked in Fire and EMS since 2014. Recruit Esposti has been a Paramedic since 2017. He enjoys climbing and backpacking in his free time and is happy to be here. 


Luke Fyke - Recruit Fyke was born and raised in Lombard, Illinois. He joined the military after high school and served just under seven years in the Air Force as an electrician. Recruit Fyke got out of the military in 2018 at Ellsworth Air Force Base and worked as a Generator Technician and a Fire Alarm Technician here in Rapid City. He joined the fire service for the brotherhood and camaraderie. In his free time he likes to hunt, ice fish and spend time with his girlfriend. 


Kyle Grim - Recruit Grim was born in Burke, South Dakota but raised most of his life in Sioux Falls. He graduated from Roosevelt High School and joined the South Dakota Army National Guard shortly after graduation. Recruit Grim deployed to Iraq in 2007 as a medic, doing convoy operations. After deployment, he changed units to the 730th Area Support Medical Company in Vermillion, South Dakota, which is where he met his wife, McKenzie. Recruit Grim says they have been married for 8 years. They have a four year old daughter and a baby boy on the way. He says they moved to Rapid City to be closer to his guard unit and is excited to live here, plant his roots here and grow his family. 


Shelynd Halls - Recruit Halls being only 20 years old, says high school wasn't that long ago for her, but in high school she was part of the Health Occupations Academy, an alternative program that allowed all her classes to be health based. That's where she learned about helping the community and had received a job to shadow health professionals in her home town of Wyoming, which is where she found fire. The last three years, Recruit Halls found herself back in South Dakota, where she got onto a crew for the state and put her certifications to use. She says being a part of a 20 man hand crew was such a phenomenal learning experience. This year, Recruit Halls decided to follow her dreams and follow in her Uncle Larry Bray's footsteps and become a member of the Rapid City Fire Department. She has a seven year old brother that looks up to her and she says he is her world. She is excited for her future at the Rapid City Fire Department. 


Derek Lothspeich - Recruit Lothspeich was born and raised in Black Hawk, South Dakota. He graduated from Stevens High School in 2016, then graduated from Black Hills State University in 2020. During college, Recruit Lothspeich worked as a wildland firefighter and found a passion for fire service, leaving him to pursue a full time career as a firefighter. During his days off, he enjoys fly fishing, mountain biking and rock climbing. 


Kassidy Marta - Recruit Marta was born in Seattle, Washington and grew up in the Black Hills. She has been active with sports and adventures throughout her life. Recruit Marta sought out various career avenues and found difficulty with finding passion for those careers. She started her journey with EMS and Fire after a single ride-along with the Rapid City Fire Department. Less than two years later, she finished her degree as a Paramedic. Recruit Marta says she has been blessed with becoming part of the Rapid City Fire Department family and found where her passion is as well as where her family is. 


Chris Metcalfe - Recruit Metcalfe was born and raised in Southern California. He was able to follow his former career to Rapid City three and half years ago. Recruit Metcalfe and his wife have three daughters. He discovered volunteer firefighting through Whispering Pines Volunteer Fire Department after he moved here and followed his childhood dreams of becoming a career firefighter medic with the Rapid City Fire Department. 


Clayton Schleusner - Recruit Schleusner is from the Minneapolis area. He comes from a family of five kids, four boys and one girl. He is married with two kids, one boy and one girl and has a dog. Recruit Schleusner used to play football for a living and is now excited to start his career as a firefighter at the Rapid City Fire Department. 


Peter Smith - Recruit Smith was born and raised in Central Iowa. He attended Northwestern College in Iowa, where he was on the cross country and track team. Recruit Smith lived and worked in the Black Hills after college and during this time started to pursue a career in Fire and EMS. He enjoys climbing, running, hiking, and playing soccer. Recruit Smith says when he's not being active in his free time, he enjoys trying new restaurants with his family. 

Sage Stephens - Recruit Stephens was born in Dade City, Florida. Prior to getting a job at the Rapid City Fire Department he was a Driver Engineer/Paramedic with the Lakeland Fire Department. During his time with the Lakeland Fire Department, he obtained his Associate's Degree in EMS and became a member of Lakeland Fire's Urban Search and Rescue Team. Recruit Stephens moved to Rapid City with his wife and two dogs. He says they enjoy traveling and exploring as a family. 






The Rapid City Fire Department is excited to have these outstanding recruits join our ranks. Please join us in congratulating and welcoming these fine individuals.



Monday, November 16, 2020


The Rapid City Fire Department Welcomes Thirteen To Join the Ranks Of Rapid City's Bravest

New recruits begin Fire Training Academy

Rapid City, S.D. - The Rapid City Fire Department has added thirteen new recruits to begin their careers with the department. The newest RCFD recruits were hired to help with the department's increasing call volume, as well as to help fill vacancies left by those who have retired. Six of the new recruits are being funded by The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant for three years. Graduation will take place for all thirteen recruits on December 31, 2020. 

The recruits are:

Daniel Anderson - Recruit Anderson was born and raised in Rapid City, SD. He has no prior experience in fire and emergency medical services, but says he is very excited to learn the concepts and skills required for the position. Recruit Anderson says he enjoys activities that give him an adrenaline rush, such as snowboarding and mountain biking. He believes a career with the Rapid City Fire Department is the right fit for him. 

Brian Byrne - Recruit Byrne was born and raised in Rapid City, SD. He has seven months experience with the Spearfish Fire Department. Recruit Byrne enjoys hiking with his husky, Keelo, going skiing at Terry Peak, and riding his motorcycle in the Black Hills.

Scott Craig - Recruit Craig was raised on the island of Maui, but moved to Rapid City, SD during his high school years. He has no fire or medical experience, but graduated from Black Hills State University in 2018. He worked at the Pennington County Jail for two years before joining the Rapid City Fire Department. In his free time, Recruit Craig enjoys spending time with his wife and two dogs as well as going hunting. He says he is excited to join such an amazing team. 

Adam Evans - Recruit Evans is from Hot Springs, SD. He has worked for South Dakota Wildland Fire Suppression for multiple seasons as well as the Department of Veterans Affairs Fire Department in Hot Springs. Recruit Evans has also been a member of the Hot Springs Volunteer Fire Department since 2007. 

Benjamin Garbutt - Recruit Garbutt was born and raised in Casper, WY. He worked part time in fire and emergency services for three years while attending college. Recruit Garbutt moved to Rapid City about four months ago to begin his career with the Rapid City Fire Department. In his free time, he loves to work out, snowboard, and spend time with his friends.

Morgan Helton - Recruit Helton is from a little town on the eastern plains of Colorado, called Calhan. She graduated from Chadron State College in Nebraska with a Bachelor's of Arts in Sports and Recreation Management with an emphasis in Exercise Science in 2018. From 2018 to June of 2020, she worked as a Firefighter/EMT with the Calhan Fire Department. Recruit Helton moved to Rapid City in July. She enjoys spending time outdoors, playing sports, and spending time with family and friends. 

Nick Kollias - Recruit Kollias was born and raised in Indianapolis, IN. After high school, he attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN where he received his Bachelor's of Arts degree in Political Science. Recruit Kollias competed in alpine ski racing and played football while attending college, it was there where he met his wife, who is originally from Rapid City. Since then,. he worked in EMS in Indianapolis and started his family. Currently, Recruit Kollias is completing his Master's of Science degree in Intelligence and Security Studies through The Citadel, a military college of South Carolina. 

Roderick Marquez - Recruit Marquez was born in Guam. He served in the United States Air Force for 20 years before retiring in 2018. He worked for the Pennington County Jail for almost three years before joining the Rapid City Fire Department. He enjoys spending time with his wife and kids. 

Danny Sandvig - Recruit Sandvig is from Fargo, ND. He and his wife moved to Rapid City in 2015. He has three children and looks forward to being a part of the Rapid City Fire Department.

Heidi Schulz - Recruit Schulz is from Sturgis, SD. She has worked as an EMT for the past four and a half years, with most recently obtaining her paramedic license from the Rapid City Fire Department. She says she is looking forward to continuing her career with the department and is excited to learn more about fire fighting. 

Bryan Strader - Recruit Strader is from Southern California. In high school he was involved in fire explorers, which excited him to further his experience in the field. Recruit Strader moved to Huntington Beach where he took both EMT and fire science courses. From there, he moved to Wyoming to work as a forestry technician before moving to Rapid City to become a firefighter. In his free time, Recruit Strader loves to play sports.

Hunter Vissia - Recruit Vissia grew up in Belle Fourche, SD. He is a volunteer at the Rapid Valley Fire Department and graduated from Western Dakota Tech with an Associate's degree in Paramedics. Recruit Vissia spends his free time with friends and family and enjoys to fish, camp, and hike. He says he looks forward to the experiences he will gain by working for the Rapid City Fire Department.

Jevin Worthington - Recruit Worthington moved to Piedmont, SD two years ago with his wife and two boys. He worked for Rapid City Parks and Recreation for two years, before starting his career with the Rapid City Fire Department. Recruit Worthington currently is a volunteer with the Piedmont Fire Department. In his free time, he and his family enjoy camping and exploring the Black Hills.

The Rapid City Fire Department is excited to have these outstanding recruits join our ranks. Please join us in congratulating and welcoming these fine individuals.


Tuesday, July 7, 2020

RCFD Sees High Independence Day Call Volume

Rapid City, S.D - The Rapid City Fire Department experienced a higher than usual call volume during the Fourth of July weekend responding to a total of 204 total calls for service. Included in those calls were 25 separate fires reported from 7 am July 3 until 7 am July 6. Of those, 10 fires occurred in dumpsters while 11 were grass and/or vegetation fires. One grass fire and one dumpster fire impacted structures causing minor damage to the building before firefighters extinguished them. Here's a breakdown of some of the notable incidents from the weekend:

July 3

A-Shift ran 76 calls for service with fires accounting for five of those calls (two grass and three dumpster). Both grass fires occurred in the Rapid Valley area. One fire, in the area of 747 Timmons Boulevard, burned half of an acre of grass. The fire was reported at 6:45 pm and burned through short grass with flame lengths of two to three feet. The fire did threaten a nearby dental office for a short period of time. Bystanders were attempting to extinguish the fire when crews arrived. It is believed to have been caused by fireworks.

The second grass fire happened close by the first fire in the area of 815 Missoula Street. That fire was reported at 9:27 pm. A total of an acre of grass was burned. Firefighters arrived to find a fire burning near the backyards of homes. The cause is suspected to have been related to fireworks activity in the area.

At 10:48 pm, Stations 1, 4 and 6 responded to a report of a dumpster fire threatening homes and a fence at 2720 Orchard Lane. Crews knocked down the fire after it extended to a wooden fence close by. There were no reports of damage to structures as a result of the fire.

The Rapid City Fire Department provided 10 personnel to support events at Mount Rushmore. The personnel were assigned to medical operations at the monument and provided Emergency Medical Services for the event. Their day began at around 5:00 am with some members not returning until after 2:00 am.

July 4

B-Shift crews responded to 76 calls for service on Independence Day. Of those 76 calls, 17 were fires including 8 grass fires, 6 dumpster fires, and 2 mutual aid responses for structure fires outside of the city. Fifteen fires occurred between the hours of 9:00 pm and 3:00 am.

At 10:05 pm, Station 7 responded to a report of a garbage can that had caught fire and extended into the siding on a residence. Firefighters arrived to find the fire extinguished by homeowners. While the siding on the home was scorched there was no extension into the home. Had the fire occurred after everyone had gone inside, a much more serious fire likely would have resulted.

Just after 11:00 pm, Stations 1, 2, 3 and 7 responded to a report of a vegetation fire threatening an apartment building at 222 Anamosa Street. When firefighters arrived, the front lawn of the apartment was on fire and had extended into a juniper tree. Flames were impinging on the building with an ember shower blanketing the roof. Occupants inside of the building were unaware of the fire and were evacuated by members of the RCFD and Rapid City Police Department. Heat from the fire melted blinds in the window of one apartment. A quick knockdown of the fire by Station 1 crews prevented the fire from spreading inside of the building. The building sustained minor damage. No injuries were reported.

Later in the evening, Stations 3 and 7 as well as Battalion Chief Brian Povandra responded to a structure fire in the 800 block of Virginia Lane as automatic mutual aid to the North Haines Fire Department. The fire reached a third alarm before being controlled. Multiple structures and vehicles were damaged or destroyed and several other homes and vehicles were threatened. This taxed resources already spread thin by high call volume and resources depleted by the holiday weekend.

July 5

C-Shift saw a return to more normal call volume with 52 calls for service on Sunday. While the volume of calls remained more toward normal, a number of the calls were high intensity incidents that further stressed a physically and emotionally tired force. C-Shift crews responded to three fires between 7:00 pm and 11:00 pm on Sunday. The lone structure fire was a mutual aid response to the Black Hawk Fire Department area that was reportedly the result of a lightning strike.

The storm that brought lightning and hail to parts of the area also resulted in a rise in flows in Rapid Creek. Shortly after the storm, Stations 1, 2 and 3 as well as officers from the Rapid City Police Department responded to a report of a female trapped in Rapid Creek near Legacy Commons. A caller reported that a female lost her footing, was carried downstream a short distance and was unable to get out of the creek. A few short moments after arriving on scene, Officers Dalton Gustafson and Dylan Schieffer spotted the victim who was partially submerged and struggling to get out of the water. Her exit was complicated by steep, wet banks. The officers grabbed the woman and pulled her to safety. The victim was in the cold, fast-moving water for as long as 30 minutes before her rescue. She was transported to Monument Health- Rapid City Hospital for evaluation.

Another dumpster fire was reported behind Hobby Lobby on E. Disk Drive at 9:01 pm. Station 7 and Station 1 crews found a bundle of compressed cardboard burning. The fire was quickly extinguished without any damage to the building and with no injuries reported.

Dumpster Fires

In calendar year 2019, the RCFD responded to a total of 11 dumpster fires. Since April 1, 2020 we have responded to 16. Many of these fires have been occurring in the same geographic area. Dumpster fires can be problematic for a few reasons. One reason is their general proximity to buildings, vehicles and other exposures such as fences. Because of the availability of combustible material, dumpster fires burn quickly and have the potential to spread to nearby exposures. The other issue is that it can be anyone's guess as to what the dumpster contains. This can pose a safety threat to bystanders and firefighters extinguishing the fire.

Setting fire to dumpsters can be a sign of bigger problems such as behavioral issues or a mental health crisis. Those that set these fires often escalate their fire-setting behavior which can be a threat to the safety of the community. Our Fire and Life Safety Division reports that there is surveillance video of some of these fires being intentionally set. We are currently working with the public and law enforcement to identify these individuals and hold them accountable and get them the mental health services that they may need.
Above: A map showing the location of fires that occurred July 3, 4 and 5. Not pictured are some of the mutual aid responses outside of the city.


It's tough to compare the call volume during this years holiday to years past. The Fourth of July weekend truly fell on a weekend this year with the holiday falling during the week in the last four years. An apples to apples comparison of July 3, 4 and 5 breaks down like this:

Total Calls: 204
Fires: 25

Total Calls: 170
Fires: 4

Total Calls: 171
Fires: 4

Total Calls: 158
Fires: 13

Total Calls: 151
Fires: 7

Low fire numbers in 2017 and 2018 can be attributed to higher than average moisture. In 2019 we saw more water related rescues over this same time period than we saw fires. Fireworks related injuries appear to remain about the same this year as in the last four years.

Over the course of the next day or so, we will evaluate the call volumes and call types and try to learn what we can do better next year. Changes may include better messaging and information ahead of the holiday in order to encourage safe behavior. Changes may also include increased or different staffing models.

For questions or comment related to the information provided above, please contact Jim Bussell, Public Information Officer for the Rapid City Fire Department, at (605)-394-4180.


Thursday, June 18, 2020

Four of Rapid City's Bravest Retire

Rapid City, S.D. - Today we bid four of our absolute finest a fond farewell as they retire from the Rapid City Fire Department with a combined 111 years of experience. Each of them will tell you that, if they did their job right, no one will notice their departure. They'll tell you that, through training and mentoring those below them, no one should notice "a ripple in the pool" because their replacements will step in and do a great job. With all due respect, I regret to inform them that we'll notice. We will most certainly notice. The general public may not, but we certainly will. 

Captain Joe Tjaden

Joe Tjaden started his career with the Rapid City Fire Department on August 1, 1998. In 2000, Joe became a Paramedic after attending an intense, 6-month course through Swedish Hospital in Denver, CO. He promoted to Captain on June 1, 2011. Joe is one of the most well-known and respected instructors in the area. Each year he teaches a number of classes ranging from EMS to Hazardous Materials to wildland fire. Joe is a highly qualified wildland firefighter with a wealth of experience in several roles and currently serves as a Structural Protection Specialist with the Rocky Mountain Area Type 2 Incident Management  Team- Blue. Most recently, Captain Tjaden was assigned to Station 6 and lead the Rapid City/Pennington County Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Team (Hazmat). His knowledge and experience have been a tremendous asset for the last 22 years. 

While we will miss Joe here at the Rapid City Fire Department, we will have the opportunity to work with Joe as he will continue to serve as Fire Chief at the Rapid Valley Volunteer Fire Department where he has been active since 1994. Joe's dedication to the fire service and his dedication to education and training is unsurpassed. Ask almost any firefighter in the Black Hills and they'll likely say that they have benefited from Joe's knowledge, tutelage, and experience in one way or another. 

Training Section Chief Matt Culberson

Beginning his career on May 7, 1990, Matt established himself as the consummate "whatever the department needs" kind of guy. In September 2000, Matt promoted to Lieutenant and was stationed at Rapid City Regional Airport's Fire Station 8. With expertise in the area of hazardous materials, Chief Matt was a fixture as a member of the Hazmat team and was promoted to Captain at Station 6 on September 1, 2009. Matt relished the opportunity to excel in any role and viewed each role as an opportunity to help make the organization better. On January 1, 2014, he stepped into the challenging role of Training Section Chief.

As Training Section Chief, Matt was tasked with overseeing the delivery of global training. While in that position, he helped bring Target Solutions to the department. He helped develop the Fire Training Specialist and EMS Training Specialist positions which further enhanced the ability of the Training Section to deliver high-quality education to our members. Chief Matt reports that a long to-do list awaits him in retirement. He is looking forward to completing tasks around his home, enjoying new hobbies and spending more time with his family. 

Battalion Chief Tim Daly

Tim Daly is currently the longest-tenured member of the department having started his RCFD career on October 2, 1986. His career in EMS dates back to July of 1979 when he began working for the Rapid City/Pennington County Ambulance Service. Chief Daly is among the most respected and best-known individuals in the history of the organization. He has an incredibly strong background in wildland firefighting and is the last active member of our department to have fought the Westberry Trails Fire. For 34 years, Chief Daly has dedicated himself to being the best and most well-rounded firefighter possible. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1995, Captain in 1999, and Battalion Chief on April 1, 2010. 

While his career with the Rapid City Fire Department is coming to a close, his fire service career will continue. Chief Daly will continue to work intermittently at the United States Forest Service where he has worked since 2003 and will continue his role as an Operations Section Chief trainee with the Rocky Mountain Area Type 1 Incident Management Team. With his retirement, Chief Daly will now have the opportunity to spend more time with his family, his three grandchildren in particular. 

Fire Chief Rod Seals

Throughout his 25 year career, Rod Seals has held rank at every level of the department. This speaks to his talent, knowledge, and dedication to our profession. Rod is highly trained in the area of technical rescue with particular expertise in the area of water rescue. He was promoted to Lieutenant on January 1, 2007, with a focus in the area of training. Three years to the day later, he was promoted to Captain taking over duties and responsibilities at the Airport Fire Station. After a brief stop at Station 8, Seals became the C-Shift Battalion Chief on November 1, 2010. He remained in that role until he was promoted to Deputy Fire Chief in 2015. 

With the retirement of then-Fire Chief Mike Maltaverne on January 1, 2017, Chief Seals was named Interim Fire Chief by Mayor Steve Allender. Chief Seals retained the interim role for twelve months and fifteen days until he was selected by Mayor Allender to become the 18th Fire Chief in the history of the Rapid City Fire Department on January 16, 2018. During his time as Chief, Seals has established himself as a highly respected leader of the organization. His legacy will include the establishment of an employee-led mental health initiative and the development of a training facility, among many other noteworthy achievements and accomplishments. A talented welder, Chief Seals hopes to devote time to renew his passion for welding and looks forward to spending time with his wife and two children. 

It should be noted that these four outstanding and devoted individuals have chosen to retire at this time as a way to continue to serve the citizens of our community. Their decision to retire helps stave off potential future layoffs as a result of budget concerns. By choosing to step aside, they have paved the way for others to continue their careers. Should our department have the opportunity to hire new employees, their decision to retire opens the door for others to begin their careers. These four exemplify servant leadership and what it means to lead from the front.

On a personal note, I have spent a great deal of time pondering these retirements and what it means for our department. Each one of us is fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with these gentlemen. Each one of us is better for having had the chance to learn from the four of them. Each member of our department also has a weighty responsibility to continue to carry on their legacy of excellence and leadership.

It’s been an absolute pleasure, fellas. Congratulations on your much deserved, hard-earned retirement, and most importantly, thank you on behalf of each and every one of us.

-Lt. Bussell

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Fire Chief Rod Seals Announces Retirement

Retirement effective June 19, 2020

Rapid City, S.D. – On Friday afternoon, Fire Chief Rod Seals announced to the members of the Rapid City Fire Department his intent to retire, effective June 19, 2020. His retirement will mark the end of a 25-year career. Seals delivered a letter indicating his intent to retire to Mayor Steve Allender on May 14. 

Rod Seals was appointed by Mayor Allender to serve as the 18th Fire Chief in the history of the Rapid City Fire Department on January 12, 2018. He was sworn-in to the position on January 16, 2018. During his 25-year career, Seals has served in several capacities. He was a member of the RCFD Specialty Rescue Team, Captain at Fire Station 8 at the Rapid City Regional Airport, Battalion Chief, Fire Operations Chief, and served as interim Fire Chief after the retirement of Mike Maltaverne.

In his letter to Mayor Allender, Seals acknowledged that budget concerns were the catalyst behind his decision to retire in the coming weeks. “The forecasted budget ‘crisis’ has me very concerned”, he wrote. “And since I am the highest-paid city employee that is eligible to retire, not doing so would be hypocritical on my part, especially when given orders to encourage those that can retire to do so in order to lessen our payroll expenses”, Seals continued. Seals said that he hopes that, through his retirement, money will be saved that “will help to stave off any potential future layoffs of employees.”

IAFF Local 1040 President Ryan Marcks said that he appreciates Seals’ leadership. “Chief Seals has been a tremendous leader for our organization”, Marcks said. “He was a great leader as the President of our Union early-on in his career and he’s been a great leader as Fire Chief. We especially appreciate his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. I think it is very, very admirable that his decision to retire is driven by protecting the jobs of other employees”.

Seals wrote that his retirement decision is bittersweet, but that he looks forward to seeing the growth and success of the department into the future. “There are many smart and talented people that work for the Rapid City Fire Department”, he said. “Their collective strength is the backbone to the service we provide the community”.

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

Above: Fire Chief Rod Seals


Monday, April 20, 2020

Sprinkler System Stops General Beadle Fire

Rapid City, S.D. - Just before noon today, Truck 1 was dispatched to 10 Van Buren Street at General Beadle Elementary for an automatic fire alarm. As the crew was arriving on-scene, Pennington County 9-1-1 dispatch advised that a caller was reporting an active fire in the kitchen. A full first alarm response for a commercial structure fire was dispatched. That alarm included additional units from Station 1 as well as Stations 3 and 7.

Once inside, Truck 1 found that there had been a fire on the stove in the kitchen. The fire was extinguished by the commercial hood system as well as a single sprinkler head from the fire sprinkler system. The full first alarm assignment was canceled while Truck 1 remained on-scene.

The building was occupied at the time of the fire by Rapid City Area Schools personnel who were making and distributing lunches. The Rapid City Community Health office was also open and operating at the time of the fire. No injuries were reported and occupants safely and quickly evacuated.

The fire was confined to the stove area. Smoke was quickly cleared by firefighters who also assisted with clean-up of water from the sprinkler system.

An investigator from the Rapid City Fire Department determined that the fire was accidental. Boxes used for lunch distribution nearby the stove caught fire and were quickly extinguished by the sprinkler and hood systems. The fire should not negatively impact ongoing lunch distribution.

“The sprinkler system did exactly what it was designed to do”, said Lt. Brian Staton with the Rapid City Fire Department’s Fire and Life Safety Division. “Only the number of heads needed to put the fire out were activated. Instead of dealing with a big fire, we’re squeegeeing up water”.

The Rapid City Fire Department advocates for fire sprinkler protection, especially in large, public occupancies. A large fire in a facility like General Beadle could have been catastrophic. A large fire would likely have disrupted lunch distribution to children and families in need, displaced healthcare resources, and negatively impacted the ability to deliver education to several hundred students. Instead, the fire was quickly doused.

For questions or comment regarding this release, please contact Jim Bussell, Public Information Officer for the Rapid City Fire Department, at the information provided above and below.