Authorities in Rapid City say a suicidal man started a fire Friday afternoon (May 11) resulting in an active situation for law enforcement and fire crews.

Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris was on the scene commented on the situation. "An initial report was for a response to a suicidal subject that was threatening suicide." said Jegeris. "He had a can of gas and was threatening suicide by fire."

Fire Information Officer Lieutenant Jim Bussell says upon arrival, they were forced to fight the fire in what’s called a defensive mode due to the unknown status of the suicidal subject. Under the cover of police with guns drawn, firefighters did their best to control the fire from the outside of the home, but were unable to actively fire as normal, due to the threat to their safety. After about an hour in defensive mode, fire crews were told the threat had passed, an they were able to aggressively knock the fire.

The fire had spread from a trailer to an outbuilding and then a primary residence.
Bussell says they rescued 4 dogs, two cats, a boa constrictor and some birds.

Rapid City Police Public Information Officer Brenden Medina says there is currently no threat to the public, but couldn't specify whether or not the suicidal subject was alive. Medina says this was a large operation with both law enforcement and fire, and says the cooperation between all the agencies and the public was exceptional.

Gary Matthews of The Homeslice group reports that the residence is located in the 1700 block of 11th Street in West Rapid City.


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