It was a busy holiday weekend for area firefighters, as they battled through bruisingly cold temperatures to squelch a spate of house fires in Rapid City, Sturgis and Custer.
On Monday, the Rapid City Fire Department responded to a house fire in the 3500 block of Western Avenue. Officials posted on the RCFD's social media channels around 1 p.m. about the fire. A video on the fire department's Twitter page shows heavy smoke pouring from the home. Officials initially said it started as a chimney fire.
According to the fire department, no one was hurt in the fire. No people were home when the fire started, but firefighters did rescue the family dog.
Firefighters got the fire knocked down quickly, but said Mother Nature made the overhaul process more difficult than usual.
"The weather isn't doing us any favors," the department wrote on Facebook.
Due to the extremely cold temperatures — Monday reached a high of 3 degrees in Rapid City, according to the National Weather Service — the water sprayed during the firefighters' efforts quickly froze, forming a slippery perimeter to the home.
"Because of firefighting efforts, the neighborhood is icy," officials wrote on Twitter.
Fire department officials contacted the Rapid City Public Works department to send a sander to the neighborhood.
The American Red Cross serving the region was on scene to help the home's occupants.
On Sunday, Dec. 31, a fire caused heavy damage to an unoccupied home at 14240 Sturgis Road.
A release from the Pennington County Fire Service says the fire started a little after noon. Despite the subzero temperatures they had to contend with, firefighters successfully prevented the fire from spreading to six nearby homes, "infrastructure and other improvements."
No civilians were hurt, but one firefighter suffered a serious cut to his hand and was transported to the Rapid City Regional Hospital. The release says the firefighter was released, but the injury will require follow-up treatment.
Piedmont Fire and Ambulance Service, Pennington County 911, Meade County Sheriff’s Office and the Summerset Police Department initially responded; when they arrived, heavy smoke and fire led them to request help from the Black Hawk Volunteer Fire Department, The North Haines Volunteer Fire Department and the Pennington County Fire Service.
In Custer, authorities said five people managed to escape a house fire on Saturday night that broke out at 12253 Bavarian Hills Road.
All five people were treated and released from a Custer hospital, according to another release from the fire service.
The blaze started at approximately 11:15 p.m., and caused extensive damage to the home. Firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to other structures.
Photos from the scene show the home engulfed in flames. Cold temperatures plagued firefighters then, too: Firefighters battled the blaze in temps as low as 13 degrees below zero.
No firefighters were hurt. The cause is under investigation.
In addition to the Custer Volunteer Fire Department, responding agencies included Pennington County 911, Hill City Volunteer Fire Department, Pennington County Fire Service, Custer County Sheriff’s Office, Custer County Ambulance Service, Custer County Emergency Management Agency, Black Hills Energy Argyle Volunteer Fire Department, Pringle Volunteer Fire Department, American Cross of Central and Western South Dakota, South Dakota Fire Marshal and City of Custer Public Works Department.