PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) The cause of a fire, that burned along the exterior of the alley side wall of a Pierre business last night is considered undetermined. Pierre Fire Chief Bill Alexander says the fire at Capital Sports on South Pierre Street, started in cardboard boxes which were placed just outside the building in an area partitioned off at the rear of the building. The flames grew quickly and burned a stairway that leads to upstairs apartments in the structure. He says residents who were in the apartments were able to escape safely. Alexander says firefighters know where the fire started, but are not certain how it was ignited. He says a location near the fire is used to hold burned cigarettes and some cigarette butts were found nearby, but there was not conclusive evidence that the discarded smokes were the cause. The brick exterior of the building was scorched by the fire; the stairs were destroyed, as was an upstairs window. Alexander also says an exterior door will have to be replaced. Otherwise, he says there was minimal smoke damage to the building’s apartments and none to nearby buildings. Alexander says a drop down false ceiling and a rug in one of the upstairs apartments did get wet while the fire was being put out. There was also heat and smoke damage found in an upstairs hallway and the fire left a smoky haze in the business. The Oahe Chapter of the American Red Cross offered a place for the residents living above the store to stay last night, as Alexander says electricity was shut off to the structure. Alexander says dispatchers toned out fire department members three times, not because of the size of the fire, but because last night’s temperatures made conditions tough on members trying to put out the fire in hot, heavy fire gear. Wednesday’s fire was reported about 6:30 p.m.
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