Prescribed Rockerville Fire Creates Safe Environment

Jan 2, 2017

A prescribed fire in Rockerville, S.D. destroyed a decades-old strip mall and outlying buildings around the small Black Hills town that were considered fire and safety hazards.
Credit Photo by Jim Kent
A prescribed fire in Rockerville burned down a significant number of buildings considered hazardous to the public from both a fire and safety perspective. We spoke with the property owner and with a local restaurateur about the benefits of destroying the buildings.

Realtor Pat Hall has owned various buildings in the small Black Hills town of Rockerville since 2000. Some were former tourist attractions. Hall’s plans to redevelop the property didn’t materialize until recently. Over the ensuing years, says Hall, the real estate has fallen into serious disrepair.

“The buildings when we purchased it were in bad repair and they just have gotten worse,” Hall explains. “We just had people constantly breaking in the buildings, because they were curious to see what they were like. And you just couldn’t keep continuing to clean it up. But it’s just such a bad…bad risk.”

To minimize that risk while he embarks on plans to rebuild in 2018 Hall offered to let the Rockerville Volunteer Fire Department conduct a prescribed fire as a practice exercise for its firefighters.

Chuck Little Bull likes the idea. He’s owns The Gaslight. Little Bull purchased the Rockerville restaurant in 2013 after the old building the original business occupied burned down.

“Well, there was a recent fire,”. recalls Little Bull. “ It’s bound to happen. People go in and out of those buildings and I see it…and it’s gonna happen sooner or later. Something’s gonna collapse or somebody’s gonna get hurt.”

Little Bull applauds Pat Hall for doing the right thing by having a torch put to the buildings.

The Rockerville Volunteer Fire Department asks the public to stay away from what now remains of the buildings until the owner can complete clean-up of the area.

Related links: 

Rockerville Volunteer Fire Department 

https://www.facebook.com/Rockerville-Volunteer-Fire-Department-786990118013660/