Fire Damages Pierre Duplex Friday Morning

(KCCR) — An early Friday morning fire does heavy damage to duplex in Pierre. Pierre Fire Chief Ian Paul says firefighters responded to a call of a structure fire around 12:15 am in the 100 block of 8th Street…

“Our first arriving officer noticed fire showing on the upper floor of the unit.  Folks that were occupying the upper unit; the kids that were home at the time had made it out, however the adult female wasn’t 100-percent sure all the kids were out and made entry back into the fire.  She went into the structure and did inhale some smoke. There was heavy smoke and heavy heat in the structure at the time.  Luckily one of our firefighters were there to assist her in removing her from the fire right away to safety.  That firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation.”
Firefighters brought the blaze under control in about 45 minutes…

“A majority of the fire damage; heat damage destroyed the upper floor.  The basement or the ground-level unit did receive a lot of water damage and some light smoke damage.”
Paul says it’s too early to determine a cause…

“No, we’re really early into the cause of this and determining the..or the investigation phase of this.  There’s a lot of damage on that main floor or that upper floor where the fire originated and so it’s going to take a little bit of getting into to really determine exactly what sparked off this fire.”
The female adult in the upper unit returned into the burning structure because she thought her kids were still inside. Paul says having a meeting place in the event of a fire is an important part of planning a fire escape…

“Yeah, absolutely, that is a good reminder for that.  I mean, if you have a meeting place out there, you know where to check to see; make sure your family did make it out safely, just to verify so you don’t have to put yourself in danger.”
Nine people total escaped the fire, five in the upper and four in the lower units of the building. Crews were on-scene for at least three hours to catch flare-ups and begin the investigation into a cause. Assisting on-scene were firefighters from Fort Pierre, AMR Ambulance and law enforcement.