A Closer Look At Sideras’ Career

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As we follow the developments surrounding the former Sioux Falls fire chief, we’re also taking a closer look at Jim Sideras’ career with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue. 

Sideras had a long-running career with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue before Mayor Mike Huether promoted him to fire chief in 2011.

“I think it’s going to be a new time for Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, we’re going to continue on with the same trajectory we have now, and I think that’s going to be one of excellence, and preparing Sioux Falls to continue to expect a lot from the fire department, and exceed those expectations,” Sideras said in 2011.

But his career with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue started well before that- in 1983. We talked to him for the first time one year later.

“A high rise building, it’s hard to get out, elevators don’t work, stairways, the people don’t know where their stairways are,” Sideras said in 1984.

Sideras was chief when two people drowned in March 2013 at Falls Park.

“It’s not uncommon, because we have, we had so much water flowing last night. We were able to shut off the water, so it’s not as bad as it was last night,” Sideras said in 2013.

A month later, he spoke to the media during the 2013 ice storm.

“People are trying to get their trees cut down,” Sideras said in 2013. “Today, tomorrow, is not the day to learn how to use a chainsaw.”

More recently, he led first responders in their rescue efforts after a building collapsed in downtown Sioux Falls.

“He was found in a void. We used the search dogs, it was pretty much where the spot we were looking for. After we moved all that rubble, we did find him, and it just didn’t work out for us, unfortunately,” Sideras said last December.

“Our firefighters just want to have the best outcome for the family, and it just, we saved one person, but we weren’t able to save the other one. It’s sad for us,” Sideras also said.

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