Five suspicious fires spark investigations in Rapid City
RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Rapid City Fire Department is reminding citizens to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity after five fires in two days have been deemed suspicious.
Sunday afternoon, the RCFD responded to three fires; two in Memorial Park, and another near the intersection of North Street and Wood Avenue. One of the fires did affect a structure. On Monday, two more fires were reported; one in Vicki Powers Park and another at the intersection of 5th Street and St. James Street. According to RCFD Public Information Officer Lt. Jim Bussell, the latter-most fire closed down 5th Street traffic for roughly an hour as crews fought to contain four to six feet tall flames.
Bussell says natural causes like lightning or spontaneous combustion have been ruled out and electrical sparks from power lines are not likely to blame.
Given the burnable grasses in the area, officials stress these fires are a threat to public safety.
“It’s not a matter of if, its a matter of when someones going to get hurt. So we need the community to keep their eyes open and if they see something, they need to say something,” said Bussell.
The Rapid City Police Department is investigating the fires. If you see someone suspicious or setting fires, you are urged to call 911.
Bussell says juveniles are responsible for at least one of the fires and parents should be aware of any signs that may indicate their child has an interest in fire.
“If you have juveniles that have an interest in fire and a curiosity that’s not normal or they’re exhibiting that fire setting behavior, do call,” said Bussell. “We have a program where we can assist and do some education and we have access to counseling and things like that to mitigate some behavior.”