HURON, S.D. (KELO) — The City of Huron and surrounding communities are reeling from the loss of a local firefighter after a business caught fire on the west side of Huron.
As smoke filled the air on Labor Day afternoon, the Huron Fire Department was called to action.
“The first arriving police officer advised that there was smoke coming from all three buildings at Hurd Alignment and Repair,” said Ron Hines, Huron Fire Chief.
Volunteer crews from Wolsey, Alpena and Cavour fought the fire in 100 degree heat and strong winds at Hurd Alignment on Old Highway 14 on the west side of town.
“All four departments responded as quickly as they could and started out to battle the very large blaze,” Hines said.
As crews battled the blaze, 48-year-old Cavour Fire Chief Josh Kogel had a heart attack and died later at the hospital.
Kogel was the fire chief of Cavour and is remembered as a generous and hard-working man who loved what he did.
“Thank you for serving and protecting our community. Your courageous work does not go unnoticed. You show up in difficult situations and always put others before yourselves. You’re all appreciated more than you’ll ever know, and you are all true heroes,” said Drew Weinreis, Public Safety Commissioner.
Fire Chief Ron Hines says Kogel was his close friend for 27 years and his death is felt throughout the community.
“He would give you the shirt off his back to help you with anything. Very, very good guy 20-20 plus years probably 27 years in the fire service. He’ll be greatly missed by his friends and family and his brothers and sisters in the fire service,” Hines said.
Crews put out the fire close to five hours after the call. The business was a total loss from the fire.