PIERRE, S.D. - Authorities in Pierre say two families escaped from an overnight duplex fire early Friday morning.
The Pierre Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to a fire on the 100 block of East Eighth Street around 12:15 a.m. Upon arrival, crews noted smoke and flames visible from the front of the two-story duplex.
Assistant Fire Chief Byron Caauwe observed an adult female fighting through smoke and flames to get back into her residence on the top floor of the duplex. Caauwe was able to locate the woman and bring her to safety.
Pierre Fire Chief Ian Paul says the woman has four kids and didn’t think they all made it out, so she was going back in to find them. He says all of the children had made it to safety.
A family of four occupied the lower unit of the duplex and was able to escape without incident.
Firefighters were able to suppress the fire within 45 minutes but remained on scene for several more hours to extinguish hot spots.
Officials said the upper unit of the duplex suffered significant damage while the lower unit suffered water and smoke damage.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.