Jedediah “Jed” Douglas, his wife, Joni, and two of their sons were in the living room and kitchen area of their mobile home when the roof gave way. Their other two sons were still asleep in back bedrooms.
The Pierre Fire Department Rescue Squad was dispatched to a report of a person trapped in a home due to a partial roof collapse in the 1600 block of East Park St. at approximately 6:45 a.m. Thursday, September 12.
The 1965 mobile home is actually just around the corner, on Tyler Street.
According to Ian Paul, chief of the city of Pierre Fire Department, when firefighters arrived they noted a person in the mobile home who was trapped as a result of the collapse.
Firefighters and law enforcement were able to free the individual and remove him through the back door to a waiting ambulance.
The rest of the family had made it out of the home unharmed prior to the rescue squad’s arrival. Also assisting with the rescue was Pierre Police Department and American Medical Response.
After extrication from underneath the rubble, Jed was taken by ambulance to the emergency room. The four boys were taken to a friend’s house. It was determined that Jed had suffered a dislocated shoulder.
According to Paul, the collapse occurred due to water pooling on the roof of the home. Approximately 25 percent of the roof had collapsed. As a result, obviously, the home suffered major damage.
“I’m putting them up at a hotel for four nights,” said friend Amanda Carroll. Because of the size of the family, and the older ages of the sons, two rooms are needed. Carroll is volunteering fundraising work for the Douglas family. She is already receiving some donations, and has the situation on Facebook. “Because of the year of their mobile home, their insurance company had dropped them, thus they have no insurance. The South Dakota Red Cross might be able to help a little, but there is so much going on in this state right now, that’s the sad part.”
South Dakota has been recently hit by tornadoes, thunderstorms and flooding. Sept. 11 was especially devastating.
As for Pierre, a record 0.98 inch of precipitation fell on Pierre by midnight Wednesday, breaking the previous record of 0.58 inch set on Sept. 11, 1900, according to Aaron Dye of the National Weather Service office in Aberdeen.
Another 0.17 inch fell by 6 a.m., Thursday, according to the rain gauge at the Pierre Regional Airport, Dye said.
By noon, Thursday, a total of 0.35 inch of rain had fallen in Pierre in the first 12 hours of the day.
That brings Pierre’s precipitation since Jan. 1 (through noon on Thursday, Sept. 12) to 26.77 inches. That’s about 11 inches above the 30-year norm for the period and nearly seven inches above the normal annual precipitation for the city of 19.95 inches, based on a recent 30-year average, according to Dye.
Water pooling on a roof, even just overnight, could be a danger to any structure.
Carroll said that Jed is the manager of flooring at Menards. Kevin at Menards confirmed Jed has been an employee there for three years. Carrol added that the family of six have been in, and owned, this mobile home for at least five years, renting the lot underneath it.
“It’s an unfortunate deal; they have so little,” said Carroll. Carrol said that any donations can be dropped off at 1313 Edgewater Drive, Pierre.
“With everything, be careful with what you give to,” said Chief Ian Paul. “But typically in a small town, if it’s to help someone local, people know what to expect.”