A call for the Lennox Fire Department came in early morning on March 14, at approximately 2:50 a.m., for a camper fire at 320 N Elm St., Lennox. Fire Chief Wayne Fischer said the department was on scene in under eight minutes. Lennox called for additional help with an engine and four personnel requested from Worthing Fire Department. Also on scene were the Lennox Police Department, Deputy Bartscher with Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department and the Lennox Area Ambulance.
Fischer said the reporting party was a neighbor to the east. The camper sitting in front of the home was fully engulfed in flames when the firefighters arrived. The heat and flame from the camper ignited the house. The initial attack from the Lennox Fire Department was from the north side, Tower One attacked from the west.
The department connected to the fire hydrant nearby. Fischer said, “Thankfully mother nature had it all scooped out for us.”
The occupant of the rental home was able to escape without injury. The person in the camper suffered severe burns and was taken by helicopter for treatment.
The home is owned by Cameron Poppenga of Sioux Falls. Fischer said they consider the home to be a total loss.
Lennox Fire had personnel on scene until 9:40 a.m. when the scene was turned over to the State Fire Marshall’s Office. According to Lennox Police Chief Orv Jorgensen, the fire has been deemed suspicious in nature. Later Wednesday morning, ATF (Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms) and DCI (South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation) officers were also on scene in heavy hazmat gear.
The State Fire Marshall’s office confirmed Monday that the fire was still under investigation.