VA Black Hills Health Care System
Thursday, Jan. 19 at 7:10 PM, our Fort Meade VAMC Fire Department was called into action when a fire broke out about 30 miles away in Newell, SD.
They received a request for mutual aid from the Sturgis Fire Department to send the ladder truck to Newell for a structure fire on downtown Main Street. Firefighters Dave Fluck and Zweit Bruch and the ladder truck were sent and we had back-up from Sturgis standing by should we have needed help here at Fort Meade.
The truck arrived on scene at approximately 7:40 pm and started a ladder tower operation providing a water curtain protecting a bank and US post office from burning. In addition to protecting these structures they extinguished 50% of the building that was on fire. Our staff provided professional leadership to the Newel volunteer fire department in searching for fire extension and extinguishment to other structures.
Mutual aid was developed to allow individual communities an opportunity to share resources. It is a written joint understanding between one or more agencies to share resources if available and communicate expectation for compensation or not. Mostly utilized by rural communities with minimal resources and staff, it’s a way to get enough help through joint partnership.