Tea Fire Rescue Reflects On Training Following Scary Incident

Volunteer Fire Fighter Fell Through Floor Battling Blaze On Sunday Morning

A Tea family of six is now homeless after a devastating fire Sunday morning.

Fortunately, they still have each other as no one was seriously hurt in the blaze.

However, Tea Volunteer Fire First Assistant Chief Steven Oberle said there was a scary moment after a firefighter fell through the floor of the burning home.

“He went around the corner and was on the floor and then next thing you know, it just went out from underneath him,” said Asst. Chief Oberle.

While sounding the floor during the house fire, a Tea Volunteer Firefighter found himself trapped in the basement after the floor fell through.

Oberle said he alerted his teammates of the fall and the RIT, or Rapid Intervention Team, sprang to action.

“Before they barely had the latter down the hole, he was already climbing out of it,” said Oberle.

The trapped firefighter was able to remain calm and tell the RIT team his last known location along with recommendations on how to get him out.

Oberle said a startling twist became a sigh of relief in roughly two to five minutes.

“The best outcome happened for us. Knock on wood, if it was somebody watching over us that night or watching over our firefighters that were inside. I’m just glad it ended the way it did,” said Oberle, with a sigh.

Oberle also said they didn’t get the job done simply due to luck.

They spend vigorous amount of time training to get their firefighters prepared for even the most uncommon scenarios.

One such training is working with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue in a Trap Door-like exercise.

“It just gives you that initial shock feeling of, okay, now what do I do instead of panic? You get over that shock, you compose yourself and then you go about your business and do your best to get yourself out,” said Oberle.

Oberle said the Tea Fire Department goes by a motto when it comes to their training.

“Train as if you’re life depended on it. It’s true, someday, you’re life depends on your training,” said Oberle.

Oberle says the firefighter that fell through the floor is doing okay following the incident.

He walked away with what they described as “aches and pains.”

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

Oberle said the investigation is now in the hands of the family’s insurance agency.

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