Heavy smoke greeted the crews who battled a blaze south of Sioux Falls on Wednesday (June 8). Motorists along I-29 could see the flames coming a warehouse at Thornton Flooring.

First Assistant Fire Chief Steve Oberle of the Tea Fire Department says the fire began around noon and their team took a defensive approach as the fire did heavy damage to the structure and contents.

“The roof is completely gone and we’re trying to take care of what’s burning inside the walls that we can’t reach at this time. We’re going to be here until there’s no more smoke. Then we’ll have to check the shipping containers. We’re going to wait until we mitigate the bigger problem. Then we can be more prepared to soak those down and get those taken care of.”

The resulting heat of the fire and the warm daytime temperatures made it necessary to consistently rotate the troops, though Oberle says one member needed medical attention.

“We did send one firefighter to the hospital for heat exhaustion. I’m waiting to hear back on how he’s doing. With these conditions it’s quite hot so we rotated out crews out as much and as often as we were allowed to.”

Chad Jacobs/Results Radio

Streets were blocked off for a time in the area to set up a relay pump to supply water for the units to fight the blaze because there are no hydrants adjacent to the development.

There was no immediate word on the cause of the fire. Units from Canton, Lennox, Harrisburg and Sioux Falls assisted with the Tea Fire Department in the endeavor.


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