First responders battle cold to extinguish house fire in Bath

A lack of electricity and icy conditions proved to be a challenge for first responders in Bath on Friday.
Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 5:42 PM CST
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BATH, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The cold weather is now having an even bigger impact on residents in Brown County who are still without power.

The elements are not making it any easier for first responders either. The ice and lack of electricity added some challenges for firefighters responding to a house fire in Bath this afternoon.

The call came in around 11 a.m. on Friday. Local emergency responders were the first on the scene.

“Luckily, there’s a few of us that work and live right here in Bath, so we were able to respond fast. We got on-scene and the house was fully engulfed and the roof was caving in,” said Groton Fire Department Chief Cody Bonn.

For departments coming outside of bath, such as the fire departments from Aberdeen, Stratford and Columbia, the icy conditions made the trip a bit more difficult.

“It was a challenge for the departments to get here with the icy road conditions. Yesterday would have definitely been worse, but today was bad enough. There’s no power and we had a lot of issues with doors freezing. The ground is slippery, everything is freezing to each other,” said Bonn.

That power outage in Bath started Thursday morning. According to Northern Electric staff, 700 customers in Brown and Spink County were without power as of 9 a.m. on Thursday morning.

The lack of power delayed first responders from getting emergency vehicles on the road.

“Bath station, the fire station here in town, was without power at the time of the call, so we had to manually open the doors with no lights,” said Bonn.

Northern Electric staff say the power was restored in Bath by 1:30 p.m. on Friday.

Despite the issues they faced, the emergency responders were able the extinguish the fire within half an hour.

“We had a good response. We had it knocked down before most of the departments got here, so we were able to turn departments back to their stations to protect their own area. We go on mutual aid automatically with each other and they help us and we help them, no big deal,” said Bonn.

Bonn says in some ways, the ice might have actually been helpful.

“I actually think the ice helped to an extent on this one because the neighboring houses, their roofs were iced up. I do think that helped from the fire spreading,” said Bonn.

The cause of the fire has not yet been released. Bonn says everyone in the home made it out safely.