Assistant Chief David Fischer, 43, of Sturgis, SD Fire Department was killed when a propane tank near the house that was fully engulfed in flames experienced a catastrophic failure and ruptured in an event known as a Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion, or BLEVE.
Shortly after 4 p.m. Friday, firefighters responded to a report of the fire. Upon their arrival Sturgis firefighters found a single-family dwelling was fully engulfed in fire. Several outbuildings on the property and adjacent properties were catching fire or threatened, and a number of propane tanks were also threatened.
Firefighters made their initial attack, summoned mutual aid, and nearby residents were being evacuated. It was at this time that they learned of a missing individual last seen in the residence. As they attempted to fight the fire and locate the missing person, a nearby propane tank exploded killing Fischer. Fischer was a 22-year member of the department and was an active member of the Sturgis Ambulance Service, and a staff sergeant with the 82nd Civil Support Team, South Dakota National Guard. Our condolences to all those affected. Rest In Peace.