By Mandy Scherer
Arson is believed to be the cause of two church fires that occurred in the early morning hours on Saturday, August 8, however, both fires are still under investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
According to Jon Siedschlaw, Oglala Sioux Tribe Emergency Management Deputy Director, the first call came in at 12:15 a.m. on Saturday. The church which has not been used recently is located near the Wounded Knee Burial Site and was a total loss.
At approximately 1:30 a.m., another call came in reporting another fire at the Church of God near Wounded Knee. The fire was contained to the kitchen area which was also the area of origin of the fire. It is believed that the structure is repairable.
Responding to both fires were: Martin Volunteer Fire Department, OST Emergency Management, OST Public Safety, OST Ambulance Service, Batesland Volunteer Fire Department, Kyle Volunteer Fire Department and Pine Ridge Agency BIA Fire.