The Milbank Fire Department responded to a fire call at the home of Mark Rethke on Wednesday, January 24, at 3:18 p.m. The home is located at 14497 SD Hwy 15.
The rescue team arrived to find a single-story residence with a walk-out basement. Smoke was emanating from all levels of the structure.
“Most of the heat appeared to be on the main level,” stated Milbank Fire Chief Kevin Schuelke. “With signs of oxygen depletion and the amount of smoke throughout the house, we needed to make sure the fire didn’t originate in the basement before sending the firefighters in on the ground level.”
Schuelke reported the firefighters began an interior attack on the first level and proceeded to the attic area. “The fire appears to have started in the water heater, furnace area of the home. It burned the main floor flooring, and went up the walls and into the attic.”
Crews were on the scene for approximately two hours. Crews also returned throughout the night to check for rekindling and hotspots. The Corona Fire Department delivered a backup water supply as a precaution. The cause of the fire is under investigation.