|Fire on Rapid City’s west side claims four lives|
|Wednesday, 28 November 2012 16:02|
The Rapid City Fire Department says the blaze swept through the multi-family home at 2114 6th Avenue just before 11:00 p.m. Tuesday night. Fire fighters say flames were visible on the upper-floor of the building when they began what they're calling an "aggressive fire attack." Fire crews say they found four victims, one adult and three children. The adult, 51-year-old Marcia Rock was pronounced dead at the scene and the children, 9-year-old Thomas Rosado, 5-year-old Dustin Rosado and 3-year-old Marquez Hawkwing all siblings were pronounced dead after being transported to Rapid City Regional Hospital. One neighbor says he already had prior concerns about the building's safety and looking back he can't believe how fast the flames made their way through the building.
Neighbor Larry Wright says, "So I looked out the window and there was just something burning out in front of one of the cars out on the concrete. I guess somebody threw a burning towel out, so I got dressed, and by the time I got out, the doorway was just engulfed and the intensity of the fire and the speed that it spread was just unbelievable."
City Community Planning and Development records show numerous substandard living complaints at the residence including a 2009 report detailing improper plumbing, a lack of smoke detectors and the need for service on the building's electrical system. The Fire Department says the investigation into the fire is ongoing, but they say early indications show human actions may have contributed to the cause, not the gas or electrical systems of the structure. And for those 17 other occupants now displaced by Tuesday night's fire, help arrived in the form of the Black Hills Chapter of the American Red Cross. The Red Cross says they dispatched a staff member to the scene of the fire Tuesday night to evaluate the needs of the occupants once they were out of the home.
Dan Kuecker of the Black Hills Area Red Cross says, "We gave them financial assistance so they can get the essential items they might have lost in the fire. And as we go forward, the Red Cross also has other options where we can refer to other agencies to help them, and also we have on-staff volunteers who can help with emotional support, mental health support, those sort of things as well. So, we'll be offering those services as we go forward for these families."
The Red Cross says it's monetary donations that allow them to provide their services to the community. They're referring all physical donations for the affected families, such as food, clothing and furniture to the Salvation Army.