A Wall business was destroyed in overnight fire

The fire needed to be contained to the café, to save the economic driver for the town -- Main Street.
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 5:03 PM MDT
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WALL, S.D. (KEVN) - At around 8:45 P.M on June 20th the Wall Fire Department received a report that there was a fire at the Cactus Café and Lounge and upon arrival, the fire had escaped to the lower level and was coming out of the doors and windows. “It came out from underneath all the doors at the front of the café, the wind sucked underneath these awnings and started the awning on fire to the adjacent buildings,” said Wall Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief, Jim Kitterman.

The fire needed to be contained to the café, to save the economic driver for the town -- Main Street. The neighboring building showed signs of fire damage, but mainly to the outside of the structure. Most businesses on Main Street were open the next day. Kitterman said although the structure is demolished, “No injuries, as far as we know everyone’s accounted for, everyone’s doing good.”

Thanks in part to the quick thinking of a Pennington County Deputy Sheriff who helped a man escape the building. That man then received medical treatment, and the deputy was treated for smoke inhalation.

People in town at the time could smell the fire and went to see what was happening. “When we first went down, you couldn’t see anything, it was just black smoke. Even trying to get down there about two blocks, you couldn’t hardly see to get there,” said Carrie Welsh, owner of Welsh’s Motel.

Welsh knew most of the local firefighters, so she decided to do her part for her friends and neighbors. “Jumped in the vehicle and we just grabbed some cooler of ice, all the water we had on hand, and very few snacks that we had in the house, we took them down there because these guys were working. Just trying to save our Main Street.”

There were 35 different agencies working to put the fire out: Pennington County 911, Custer County Communications, Winner Police Department Dispatch, Wall Volunteer Fire Department, Wall Ambulance Service, Interior Volunteer Fire Department, Quinn Volunteer Firedpeartment, New Underwood Volunteer Fire Department, Wasta Volunteer Fire Department, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, South Dakota Highway Patrol, Black Hawk Volunteer Department, Piedmont Fire and Ambulance Service, North Haines Volunteer Fire Department, Rapid City Fire Department, Box Elder Volunteer Fire Department, Rapid Valley Volunteer Fire Department, Johnson Siding Volunteer Fire Department, Doly Volunteer Fire Department, Rockerville Volunteer Fire Department, Battle Creek Fire Department, Fairburn Volunteer Fire Department, Whispering Pines Volunteer Fire Department, Phillip Volunteer Fire Department, Kadoka Volunteer Fire Department, Scenic Volunteer Fire Department, Ellsworth Airforce Base Fire Department, Custer Volunteer Fire department, Rochford Volunteer Fire Department, Rockerville Volunteer Fire Department, South Dakota State Fire Marshall’s office, West River Electrical Cooperative, The City of Wall and The Black Hills fire Chaplains Association.

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