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Still no cause of Tilford fire

September 25, 2018

TILFORD — The investigation continues into what caused a house fire that killed two people in Tilford on Sept. 7.

Tony Mangan, spokesman for the State Fire Marshal’s Office, said several agencies are collaborating on the investigation, but information on the cause is still forthcoming. Mangan said he had no timeline was to when the information might be made available.

Killed in the blaze were 43-year-old Sturgis Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief David Fischer and 82-year-old Raymond Bachmeier, the resident of the home in Tilford.

Officials said just after 4 p.m. Sept. 7, the Sturgis Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to a report of a structure fire in Tilford.

When Sturgis firefighters arrived on scene, a single-family dwelling was fully involved in fire. Several outbuildings on the property and adjacent properties were also catching fire or threatened. Additionally, a number of propane tanks in the area were threatened by fire.

As firefighters continued to battle the blaze and attempt to locate Bachmeier, a 500-gallon propane tank on the property experienced what Bussell described as a catastrophic failure and ruptured in an event known as a Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion, or BLEVE.

A portion of that tank hit and killed Fischer. Bachmeier’s remains were found in the charred remains of the home the following morning.

In addition to the South Dakota Fire Marshal’s Office, those investigating the cause of the fire include the Meade County Sheriff’s Office, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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