Propane Explosion and Fire in Tilford, SD Kills Two, Injures One As It Destroys Home

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A propane explosion and fire in Tilford, SD has killed two people and injured another. One of the fatalities was the Assistant Chief of the Sturgis Fire Department. A local resident was also killed, and a Deputy Sheriff was injured. The tragedy occurred around 4 PM on Friday, September 7, 2018.

Sturgis Assistant Fire Chief David Fischer, 43, was killed when a propane tank underwent a Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion (BLEVE) in a catastrophic failure. A piece of shrapnel from the explosion killed Fischer after penetrating his protective equipment.

Also killed in the fire and explosion was local resident Raymond Joseph Bachmeier, 82. His body was found by firefighters on Saturday morning. The exact cause of his death has not been determined yet.

A Meade County Deputy Sheriff received non-life-threatening injuries. He has been released from the hospital.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, one home was ablaze, and was spreading to several outbuildings. Several propane tanks were also threatened, and one of those exploded. The home has been completely destroyed.

The Meade County Sheriff’s Office, the South Dakota Fire Marshall’s Office, South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives will be investigating the cause of the fire and the cause of death of Mr. Bachmeier.

Tilford is 9 miles south-southeast of Sturgis in western South Dakota.

The Human Tragedy of the Propane Explosion and Fire in Tilford, SD

While we don’t yet know much about Raymond Bachmeier, we do know that Assistant Fire Chief David Fischer had served as a volunteer firefighter for 22 years. He was also a member of the South Dakota National Guard, and an EMT. He leaves a wife and family behind.

Community leaders like Mr. Fischer can never truly be replaced. They can only be remembered, and honored.

Our sincere sympathies go out to the family and friends of both men who were killed in this tragedy.

If you have been injured in a fire or explosion, or if a loved one has been killed in a fire or explosion, call the compassionate lawyers of Pritzker Hageman find out if you have a legal case. We have years of experience in helping families rebuild their lives after horrible injuries or loss.

Call us for free, and with no obligation, at 1-888-377-8900. Or fill out the online response card. Nothing can bring back a loved one who has lost their life. But we can help make sure that the medical fees, loss of income, and many other costs, do not deprive you of your future. 


“Assistant Chief Killed in SD Fire, Explosion.” News, September 8, 2018.

Hensrud, Alyssa. “Firefighter’s name released from Tilford propane explosion.” KNBN NewsCenter1, September 7, 2018.

Propane Explosion and Fire in Tilford, SD
Tragic loss of life from the propane explosion and fire in Tilford, SD. 
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