Location of Blaze Raises Questions
by Joel Young, Meteorologist/Reporter
January 24, 2013 8:10 PM
As new homes and businesses continue to spring up around the Sioux Empire, there is often some questioning as to where political boundaries stop and others begin.
This comes up just after a recent blaze occurred in one of these gray areas where fire fighters were forced to haul water from elsewhere.
Smoke filled the sky on January 13 as a portion of Sioux Falls Kitchen and Bath went up in flames. The business is located just off Interstate 29 near the Tea exit, which falls in one of these gray areas.
It's not in Sioux Falls city limits, but it's not in Tea either. Nevertheless, firefighters from multiple departments responded to the fire.
“You’re putting water on the fire plus filling that tank on your fire engine so should your water supply for any reason get interrupted from your drop tank, you have some water on that truck,” says Lincoln County Emergency Management Director, Harold Timmerman.
He says that since there weren't any hydrants nearby, fire fighters were forced to haul water from hydrants within the city limits of Sioux Falls.
Firefighters were able to fight the fire with a consistent supply of water, just as they would if they were able to connect to a hydrant nearby.
“Throughout the county, especially in the northern half, we have different housing developments that have sprung up and each of those is served by North Lincoln Rural Water.
"When those people come and ask for a building permit in those concentrated areas, they know they have rural water,” says Timmerman.
He also says fire fighters felt that although the fire was just a little bit closer to Tea, hauling water from Sioux Falls would save time because they would be avoiding the heavier traffic.
He assures residents that these decisions are made with their number one priority in mind: public safety. “No matter where your fire is, whether it’s within the city limits or in a rural area, we will get water there to fight that fire,” says Timmerman.
Officials say they do expect Sioux Falls to develop even more in the coming years, but as of now; those plans have not been finalized.