Robert W. Buhler, Firefighter

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Firefighter Buhler and members of his fire department were fighting a wildland fire. The fire was the result of a controlled field burn that was being conducted by some local citizens that got out of control. The conditions were dry with winds of 40 miles per hour. The fire was in a very deep winding ravine. Hose was being added to an attack line when a wind gust blew up an area that had been thought to be previously extinguished. The fire spread rapidly up a hill and engulfed Firefighter Buhler. Firefighter Buhler had responded directly to the scene from a nearby town and was not wearing protective clothing. Firefighter Buhler was severely burned over 60 to 80 percent of his body and died on March 16, 2000. Another firefighter, who was near Firefighter Buhler at the time of the blowup and who was equipped with protective clothing, received minor injuries. Additional information about this incident may be found in NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation F2000-22.

Department information

Delmont Volunteer Fire Department
P.O. Box 126
Delmont, South Dakota 57330

Chief: Kevin Hanten

View NIOSH Report »

Robert W. Buhler was honored on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland and was included in the USFA’s annual report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States.
Age: 62
Rank: Firefighter
Classification: Volunteer
Incident date: March 6, 2000 15:25
Date of death: March 16, 2000
Cause of death: Exposure
Nature of death: Burns
Activity type: Advance Hose Lines/Fire Attack (includes Wildland)
Emergency duty: Yes
Duty type: On-Scene Fire
Fixed property use: Outdoor Property