The De Smet News

Explosion and fire engulf barn south of town

Explosion and fire engulf barn south of town

On Sept. 6, just before 2:26 p.m., an explosion was heard and a barn south of town was immediately engulfed in flames.

Crews from De Smet and Lake Preston volunteer fire departments responded and worked to extinguish the fire and assess for any damages or injuries. There were no injuries. The barn and all its contents were a total loss. There have been no damage estimates made so far.

Among the items lost are a pickup truck, some antique tractors, feed grinder, horse trailer, welding equipment, tools from his workshop and many other items.

The fire occurred about eight miles south of De Smet, west of highway 25 on 214th street.

On a Thu afternoon, Steve Palmer had been working in his barn and decided to take a break.

His mother, Norma Palmer, was inside sitting in a recliner when a tremendous explosion was heard and felt. Norma said she is hard of hearing, but she heard that.

Neighbors approximately a half-mile to a mile away heard the explosion as well.

Palmer went outside to see what was going on and discovered his barn on fire. His quick actions allowed him to get one of his pick-ups out of the barn, but everything else ended up being consumed by the heat and flames.

Norma called 911 at 2:46 p.m. A short time later the sherriff, De Smet Rescue and the fire departments of De Smet and Lake Preston were enroute to the scene.

Small explosions could still be heard when reporters arrived. Sherriff Steve Strande said he heard acetylene bottles still popping when he first got there.

Shawn Wolkow, De Smet’s fire chief, said between 25-30 firefighters responded and remained on scene for about three hours.

Wolkow said the cause of the fire was undetermined and there would be no investigation since it was an unintentional fire. He also said there were no damage estimates.

The fire chief also thanked the Lake Preston Volunteer Fire Department for providing mutual aid, the sherriff’s department, and De Smet Rescue for responding. He also thanked Maynard’s for bringing water out to the first responders, Their gesture was appreciated.

Just a quick reminder from Wolkow, if you happen to be driving and observe emergency vehicles responding with sirens and lights, pull to the right. This make the responder’s job a whole lot easier and less stressfull.

Palmer’s neice, Jacki Miskimins is coordinating assistance for Palmer. Miskimins suggests cash or gift cards from farm supply, or hardware stores or you can visit

Posted on 09-17-2018

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