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More Than 20 People In RC Home At Time Of Fire

November 28, 2012, 5:58 PM by Derek Olson

More Than 20 People In RC Home At Time Of Fire

Four people are dead, including three children after a fire in Rapid City.

Fire crews were called to a home on the 2100 block of 6th Avenue just before 11-o'clock Tuesday night. 

Nine-year-old Thomas Rosado, five-year-old Dustin Rosado and three-year-old Marquez Hawkwing were all taken to Rapid City Regional where they were later pronounced dead.  Their grandmother, 51-year old Marcia Rock, was pronounced dead at the scene.

A neighbor recalls what he saw from his house when the fire first started.

"As soon as I got my clothes on, I looked out and there was fire in the windows.  By the time I got outside, the whole doorway was engulfed in roaring flames.  That building went up so fast," neighbor Larry Wright said.

Firefighters discovered four victims in the burning home.

"Tragically, three kids.  I saw them hauling one of the kids out.  The grandmother I used to talk to, and she was one of the people killed in the fire," Wright said.

It's a tragedy that Wright says he saw coming.

"One year ago I said that place could burn down, and it did," Wright said.

Records indicate that the home was built as a duplex in 1949, but had been updated to include five living units.  As recently as two years ago, the owner of the property was ticketed for numerous code violations.

"In the downstairs apartment, there were 17 people there.  As far as their living arrangements, who lives there, who's on the lease, I can't answer," Lt. Brent Long with the Rapid City Fire Department said.

"Five units in that building were way too many people.  And then they had a lot of friends and relatives that were staying in there.  Just an overflow," Wright said.

Both police and fire officials are investigating the incident, but aren't speculating about what they think started the deadly blaze.

"They are still investigating that right now.  They're going to look at every aspect of this.  They're going to go over this with a fine-toothed comb," Long said.

The property was purchased by a new owner, Ferley Heritage Investments, in October. A call to its office was not returned.

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