At approximately 4 p.m. on Sept. 7, Assistant Fire Chief David Fischer responded with the Sturgis Volunteer Fire Department and other local first-responders to a residential structure fire in Tilford, South Dakota. Upon arrival, firefighters found a single-family home that was fully involved in fire. The intense fire ignited several outbuildings on the property and threatened nearby propane tanks.
Firefighters made their initial attack, sent out a mutual aid call, and evacuated nearby residents. Soon after, responders were informed of a resident that was unaccounted for and last seen in the involved residence. As firefighters continued to fight the fire and attempted to locate the missing resident, a nearby propane tank experienced a catastrophic failure causing a Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion, or BLEVE. The explosion instantly killed Fischer. In addition, the remains of the missing resident, an 82 year-old male, were found the following morning.
Incident Location: Tilford, South Dakota (U.S. National Grid: 13T FK 2524 0642 (DD: 44.300, -103.430))