Sunday fire destroys rural Scotland home

Structure a total loss, fire chief says

fire lights.jpg
A fire destroyed a rural Scotland home Sunday. Republic File Photo

SCOTLAND, S.D. — A Sunday morning fire resulted in a total loss of a rural Scotland family's home.

Mike Mehrer, chief of the Scotland Fire Department, said the call came in at just after 9 a.m. Sunday morning. When firefighters arrived on the scene, they found a trailer home with an adjacent garage nearly engulfed in flames.

“It was borderline engulfed in flames already, with flames coming out of the roof. But the people were out of the house. There wasn’t a whole lot we could do,” Mehrer said.

The occupants of the home, which was located one mile north and one mile west of Scotland, all made it out safely. There were no injuries to the firefighters from Scotland, nor to the firefighters from Tripp and Menno who arrived as part of a mutual assist pact.

The home was a complete loss, Mehrer said. Cause of the fire has yet to been determined.


“We haven’t really figured that out yet. It was an older structure, and I don’t believe propane was involved, it seemed they were using electric heat in the house, so it might be something electrical,” Mehrer said. “I don’t believe they were using any space heaters or anything like that.”

After a few days of bitterly cold temperatures that dropped to double digits below zero, Mehrer said the relatively warmer weather Sunday did take some of the edge off fighting a fire on Jan. 2 in South Dakota.

“It wasn’t bad. If it had been the day before it would have been a little rougher, but the sun was shining,” Mehrer said.

Fallon Woods, superintendent for the Scotland School District, said a collection for donations has been taken up for the family of David and Samantha Finnell, the occupants of the home, at Farmers & Merchants State Bank in Scotland.

“There is an account set up at the bank if they want to drop off monetary donations there,” Woods said.

She said the school is eventually expected to take in clothing donations for the family as well, but they are holding off on taking in those donations until the family can determine what items they need most.

“We’ve asked (the public) to hold off on clothing donations until the family has time to go through to see what they may be in need of,” Woods said.

Woods said inquiries on monetary donations could be directed to Farmers & Merchants State Bank in Scotland at 605-583-2234. A GoFundMe has also been set up to help assist with donations.

Related Topics: FIRESOUR TOWNS
Erik Kaufman joined the Mitchell Republic in July of 2019 as an education and features reporter. He grew up in Freeman, S.D., graduating from Freeman High School. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1999 with a major in English and a minor in computer science. He can be reached at
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