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Posted on: November 30, 2020

Spearfish Fire Department stays busy responding to calls over Thanksgiving holiday weekend

Vehicle fire 1

Spearfish Fire Department stays busy responding to calls over Thanksgiving holiday weekend

SPEARFISH, SD – Volunteers on the Spearfish Fire Department respond 24/7/365, including holidays, and this year’s Thanksgiving holiday was no different.

At approximately 1:10 p.m. Thursday, Spearfish Public Safety Dispatch received the report of a vehicle on fire on Flat Top Circle, in the Mountain Plains 2 neighborhood. The Spearfish Fire Department responded and found a 4-door 1994 Ford Explorer fully engulfed in flames. The vehicle fire also sparked a small grassfire. Fire engines quickly knocked down and extinguished the vehicle and grass fires, establishing a fire line and wet line.  

The driver of the vehicle had exited the vehicle prior to the fire engulfing the Explorer, and there were no injuries during the call.

Fire Chief Travis Ladson explained the vehicle fire was caused by a loose fuel line that was leaking gasoline onto the ignition module, which started the fire. The vehicle and its contents, valued together at approximately $14,000, were a total loss, and there was a small amount of damage to the roadway, as well. 

Vehicle fire 1

20 firefighters, three engines, one water tender, and one brush truck responded and provided service during the call.

“For a fire to happen on Thanksgiving, we are very thankful that no one was hurt,” Ladson said.

Two days later, a cat named Boots had a lot to be thankful for on Saturday afternoon.

The gray and white cat, which had gotten trapped in a drainage pipe on North 10th Street in Spearfish, could be heard meowing, prompting a nearby resident to call Spearfish Public Safety Dispatch around 12:24 p.m.. 

Members of the Spearfish Fire Department responded, and after checking the situation, they ended up digging an approximately 3-by-5-foot area, about 2 ½ feet deep, to open up the pipe and try to coax the cat to come out with food and with the owner calling. 

Boots 2

After about 2 hours, Boots chose to exit the pipe, to the joy of all involved. The cat was taken home, and firefighters put the drainage pipe back together, filled in/closed the hole, and returned to service.

“We’re always thankful for happy endings with animal calls,” Fire Chief Travis Ladson said, thanking all units for their response.


During the animal rescue, fire units heard some popping in the residence next door and witnessed smoke emerging from the garage and eaves of the townhouse. Fire units reported the possible structure fire and immediately dragged hose to the structure to extinguish the small fire in the garage. After knocking down the fire, firefighters cooled down the area, did salvage and overhaul, and checked for extension. A vehicle parked in the garage, a 2007 Honda Ridgeline, was pushed out of the structure and checked for damage.

During the investigation, fire units discovered that a heavy-duty extension cord running from an outlet, around a door frame, to a freezer in the garage, had failed, causing the fire to start. There was approximately $10,000 worth of damage to the structure and approximately $6,000 worth of damage to the vehicle. There were no injuries during the call.

Structure fire 1

“It was extremely fortuitous that we were already in the area for the animal rescue when this fire started,” Ladson said. “The cat trapped in the drainage pipe must have sensed something was going to happen on the street that day.”

There were 19 fire personnel on scene, along with three engines and one wildland engine. 

Ladson thanked all of the personnel for responding, especially during the holiday weekend.

“We are very blessed to have awesome volunteers who respond day or night, every day of the year,” he said. 

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