Numerous small fires spark, considered suspicious - KOTA Territory News

Cause of Catron boulevard fires determined

Posted: Updated: Oct 30, 2012 01:31 PM

Update 10/30

An investigation by the Rapid City Fire Department has ruled that a faulty vehicle emission control device is the cause of the Catron blvd fires.

RCFD investigators found numerous pieces from a vehicle emissions control device or defective catalytic converter at the point of origin for each fire. 

Catalytic converters or vehicle emission control devises, normally run internal temperatures sustained around 900 degrees.  A defective converter can run temps up over 1,650 degrees. 

According to a RCPD press release, these superheated pieces of metal had more than enough energy to ignite the fine dry flashy fuels in that area.

Lt. Brent Long with the Rapid City Fire Department advises motorists to have their vehicles checked and prepared for the winter season.

"Vehicle fires increase in the winter months, and a poorly maintained vehicle will increase your odds of a fire," said Lt. Long.

Original story

A number of small grass fires along a Rapid City byway are being investigated as suspicious.

Multiple crews were called to six separate fires around three o'clock Monday afternoon along Catron Boulevard. The fires were on both sides of the road between Highway 79 and Black Hills Boulevard.

The flames were knocked down quickly and no structures were threatened. The largest of the fires is estimated at two acres.

A news release from the Rapid City Fire Department refers to the location and number of fires as a concern. The department is asking anyone who saw anything in the area around the time of these fires to call the Fire Prevention Division at 394-5233.

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