Huron fire chief speaks following Monday blaze
HURON — Huron Fire Chief Ron Hines spoke with gathered media and fellow first responders Tuesday afternoon for a press conference to discuss the business fire that occurred on Monday at Hurd Alignment.
Hines announced that the Cavour Volunteer Fire Department chief Josh Kogel developed a medical emergency while working with the truck outside the structure. He was taken by ambulance to Huron Regional Medical Center, where he passed away.
The call for the fire came in at 3:53 p.m. on Monday, according to Hines, and the first responding police officer noted that all three buildings on the property were billowing smoke, leading to a call for surrounding volunteer departments to assist the Huron Fire Department in fighting the blaze.
The Huron department was joined by the Cavour, Wolsey, and Alpena fire departments.
“It is a standard procedure with any fire that has a loss of life, the South Dakota Fire Marshall’s office, along with the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation were notified, and will be investigating the fire with our assistance,” Hines explained.
“At this time, the scene has been turned over to the insurance company as the fire has been determined to have been accidental in nature.”
Public safety commissioner Drew Weinreis expressed condolences to the family and friends of Kogel while also thanking those who assisted in fighting the fire Monday.
“He would give you the shirt off his back to help you with anything,” Hines said of Kogel. “He had 20-plus years in the fire service. He will be greatly missed.”
Hines declined to speculate on the effect of the heat on Kogel’s medical emergency, though he did note that it was more then 100 degrees when the response to the fire began, stating simply that, “I’m not a medical director.”
“Our volunteer firefighters, not just in Huron but in the surrounding communities, are the backbone of the fire service in the nation,” Hines stated, continuing to explain that volunteer firefighters respond in the middle of the night, on holidays, and regardless of weather without being paid for their service.
Asked about the response of the community to the death, Hines was appreciative.
“The community support is very humbling,” Hines responded. “Our communities rally around us in our times of need as our volunteers are there in their time of need. It’s very, very humbling.”
Funeral/memorial services are still in the planning stages.