Brandon, SD (KCAU) – A house fire in Brandon that left two people dead has been ruled an accident by authorities: however, the volunteer firefighter that was killed was legally intoxicated when he responded to the call.
The April 12th fire claimed the lives of homeowner, 47-year-old David Smith, as well as a volunteer Valley Springs firefighter, 38-year-old Steve Ackerman. According to Brandon Fire Chief Dave Kull, the fire started in a 1st floor vent pipe enclosure that served a basement furnace and water heater. The fire then spread from there.
Kull says Ackerman had a BAC of .189, more than twice the legal driving limit in South Dakota. He also said there is a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to BAC of firefighters on the job.
Mike Harstad, President of the Minnehaha County Fire Chiefs Association, says the family is still grieving from the loss, which has been tough on the entire community.
Harstad says Ackerman made the call to evacuate the burning house.