Police: SD firefighter killed in fire was drunk

Firefighter Steve Ackerman had a BAC of 0.189, more than twice the legal driving limit; the fire was ruled accidental

BRANDON, S.D. — A volunteer firefighter who died in a house fire on April 12 was intoxicated, police reported Friday morning.

Argus Leader reported that Valley Springs (S.D.) volunteer firefighter Steve Ackerman, 38, had a blood alcohol level of 0.189. The fire also killed 47-year-old homeowner David Smith.

Both died of smoke inhalation in the fire that was determined to be accidental, Brandon Police Chief Dave Kull said. The fire started in a vent pipe that went to both the furnace and water heater. 

The investigation report also said that firefighter Ackerman fell through the floor and that the fire started on the first floor.

Mike Harstad, president of the Minnehaha County Fire Chiefs Association, said Ackerman’s family is still grieving over his death and that the loss has been tough on area firefighters.

Ackerman is the 43rd firefighter to be killed in South Dakota since 1924. He is the 22nd volunteer firefighter to be killed in the line of duty.

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