Full Throttle Saloon Fire Was Accidental
After an inspection from the federal team, the Full Throttle Saloon fire is deemed accidental. The report gives an approximate location, but not an exact cause.
Officially putting their names on the report are South Dakota State Fire Marshal Director Paul Merriman and ATF St. Paul Field Division Special Agent in Charge James Modzelewski. Investigators can say conclusively that the fire originated in the main part of the bar and has been determined to be accidental in nature.
The National Response Team (NRT) from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), along with agents from the ATF St. Paul Field Division, the South Dakota State Fire Marshal’s Office, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, the Meade County Sheriff’s Office and the Sturgis Police Department all had their role in determining the cause of the conflagration on September 8 at the Full Throttle Saloon near Sturgis.
In a press release, SAC Modzelewski says, “The ATF National Response Team and our investigative partners have completed their assignments at the fire scene. Over the past five days investigators have taken countless photographs, inspected and examined artifacts recovered from the scene and conducted numerous interviews. The information developed was reviewed and analyzed to assist in determining the cause of the fire.” The ATF National Response Team departed Sturgis on Monday. Estimates of the damage caused by this event are in the neighborhood of $10 million.
ATF’s NRT, comprised of ATF personnel from across the country, responded to the scene to work alongside state and local investigators. The NRT includes a canine team, certified fire investigators, forensic chemist, electrical and fire protection engineers, and additional specialists. This NRT activation was the 15th this fiscal year and the 773rd since the team was created.