SPEARFISH, SD – It was a busy start and end to the weekend for the Spearfish Fire Department, which responded to a structure fire Friday afternoon and another Monday morning.
The fire Friday was reported around 12:15 p.m. at one of the Iron Creek Plaza apartment buildings on Ryan Road. The fire started in an apartment on the lower level, and both buildings were evacuated while the fire was extinguished. In addition to the Spearfish Fire Department, resources from the Belle Fourche Fire Department and State Fire Marshal’s office also responded to the fire.
While allegations of the presence of chemicals and explosives were made by a resident, prompting first responders to take all necessary precautions, no such chemicals or explosives were found. No injuries were reported; however, several first responders were checked by EMS personnel due to concerns related to smoke inhalation while responding, as they assisted in evacuating the buildings. Due to smoke damage to the building where the fire originated, the Red Cross was working with the displaced residents Friday evening. Preliminary damages are estimated to be approximately $100,000 in structural damages and approximately $100,000 in damages to the contents of the building.
An active investigation is ongoing. Max Dice, Jr., of Spearfish, was arrested Friday on charges related to the fire: Reckless burning or exploding (South Dakota Codified Law 22-33-9.3); Failure to control or report dangerous fire (SDCL 22-33-9.4); Obstructing officer, jailer, firefighter (SDCL 22-11-6); and Terrorist threat (SDCL 22-8-13).
The fire Monday was reported around 5:20 a.m. on Rainbow Road and involved two motorhomes and three outbuildings in close proximity on the property. Fire Chief Travis Ladson explained the fire was caused by an electrical short in the one of the motorhomes, and numerous propane and gas tanks onsite contributed to the spread of the fire, which burned approximately a quarter-acre. The fire department used approximately 7,000 gallons of water while extinguishing the fire. The three outbuildings were total losses, along with a vehicle and the motorhome in which the fire originated. The second motorhome was damaged, causing the resident to be displaced. No injuries were reported, and the Red Cross is working with the displaced resident. Preliminary damages are estimated to be approximately $50,000. The mobile home on the property was untouched by the fire.
We thank all of the local employers for allowing our volunteer firefighters to be away from work to respond to these fires, as well as our fellow first responders at our partner agencies, the Public Works Department, Red Cross, and all of the people supporting those displaced by these fires,” Chief Ladson said. “
We so appreciate the way the community supports us and its own.”
Chief Ladson reminded everyone to be aware of the best practices involving electrical appliances and extension cords.
Extension cords are meant to be used on a short-term basis and not 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” he said. “
They can short out, which can cause a fire, so it’s important to be using them as they are designed and checking to make sure they are in good shape when you do need them.”
Chief Ladson added his thanks to the firefighters for their response and efforts in fighting the fires, including the Belle Fourche Volunteer Fire Department for providing mutual aid/extra manpower.
Our firefighters did a superb job with the initial attack on both fires while dealing with extreme weather conditions – wind and cold on Friday, and terribly icy roads and wind on Monday. They overcame a lot of adversity,” he said.
Photo caption: Firefighters battled two recent structure fires, including one Monday, pictured. Photo courtesy Spearfish Fire Department