David Fischer, Assistant Fire Chief

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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))

Department information

Sturgis Volunteer Fire Department
1901 Ballpark Rd.
Sturgis, South Dakota 57785

Chief: Shawn Barrows

Fatality status is provisional and may change as USFA contacts State Fire Marshals to verify fatality incident information.

Age: 43
Rank: Assistant Fire Chief
Classification: Volunteer
Incident date: September 7, 2018 16:00
Date of death: September 7, 2018
Cause of death: Struck By
Nature of death: Trauma
Activity type: Other
Emergency duty: Yes
Duty type: On-Scene Fire
Fixed property use: Residential