Monday dumpster fires deemed suspicious by RCFD

Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 11:34 AM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Another set of dumpster fires hits the Rapid City area.

After five suspicious fires in December and three more in the last few days, four local organizations joined together to offer a $3,500 reward to anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible.

Loaf N Jug and Boyd’s Wine and Spirits were the latest to feel the heat of Rapid City’s string of suspicious fires. These two are added to a list of six others, all in the same area.

“Dumpster fires are fairly common but when you get a rash of them, close together or in similar areas,” said Brian Povandra, division chief or fire operations for the Rapid City Fire Department. “After that first one, our fire and life safety division arrived on scene and did a little bit bigger investigation and then when we had the second one in a similar area, not too much time in between, they came back to that one too and they changed both of them to suspicious fires.”

Originally, the Rapid City Fire Department did not find Monday afternoon’s fire suspicious but after further investigation, determined it was. But are they connected to the other arsons?

“At this point, we have not ruled it arson,” said Brendyn Medina, public information officer for the Rapid City Police Department. “We have a detective with the Rapid City Police Department assigned to these two fires since they are suspicious in nature.”

Although not all the fires have started in dumpsters, most have. For homeowners in the area, keeping garbage cans inside may save you some headache.

“Usually in a commercial dumpster, it’s a metal container,” said Povandra. “In a residential one, it’s a plastic container. The plastic container has a tendency to melt and allow the fire to spread to anything around such as structures or grass.”

Anyone with any information on the recent suspicious fires should contact the police or fire department. An anonymous tip can also be submitted by texting the letters ‘RCPD’ and the information to 847411.

Rapid City officials are investigating more suspicious dumpster fires. These happened near businesses on Rushmore Road Monday.

Around 3:30 p.m., a dumpster at the Mount Rushmore Loaf ‘N Jug was on fire. It was still smoldering when the fire crew arrived after an employee had tried to put the fire out with an extinguisher.

Then, around 9 p.m., the Rapid City Fire Department responded to a fire at Boyd’s Liquor on Mount Rushmore Road.

The two fires follow a string of incidents of alleged arson in Rapid City. A total of six fires have been determined to be suspicious by law enforcement.

On Dec. 5 and 6, four fires began in trash cans and dumpsters near Mount Rushmore Road and 11 Street. On Dec. 31 Police found a stack of boxes on fire in West Park Apartments on 11th Street. Last week, Jan. 23, the Rapid City Fire Department responded to a garage fire on the 1000 block of 12th Street.

Four local organizations are offering a $3,500 reward to anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible.

Rapid City Fire Department Fire and Life Safety Division and Rapid City Police are still investigating.

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