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Fire displaces Beaver Creek residents

Lead Summary
Lori Sorenson

Emergency responders helped a Beaver Creek man to safety on Dec. 1 when a fire destroyed his porch and sent smoke billowing into his home.
Firemen were dispatched to the blaze around 5:30 p.m. at 701 County Road 4 where they arrived to find flames coming from the door of the enclosed porch.
Beaver Creek Fire Chief Jason Rauk said they weren’t aware that anyone was in the home at first, but they were able to locate 73-year-old John Ruddy inside.
“Fortunately we got there in time to help and before the fire got out of control,” Rauk said.
Ruddy, who has health problems that affect his mobility, was helped from the smoke-filled house through a main-floor bay window and taken by Rock County ambulance to a hospital in Sioux Falls.
According to his daughter, Renae, he suffered from acute smoke inhalation and was sedated and intubated and spent two days in ICU.
“It’s just been such a nightmare,” she said Monday.
As of Monday afternoon, Ruddy remained hospitalized, but was continuing to improve.
“We cannot thank the Beaver Creek Fire Department and Rock County Ambulance crew enough,” Renae wrote on the Star Herald Facebook post about the fire.
“You all were amazing and we cannot thank you enough. We have a long road ahead of us but find comfort in knowing God is by our side with all of this.”
She added that she’s also grateful for the Rock County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance.
According to the American Red Cross, local Red Cross volunteers helped the Ruddys and their dog with "essential items such as food, clothing, shelter and medications, and help beginning the long-term recovery process.”
Meanwhile, Ruddy’s granddaughter, Katrina Cordell, started a GoFundMe account where she described the events of Dec. 1 and said wiring to a chest freezer in the front porch may have started the blaze.
“The entire entryway to the house is gone and the rest of the house is damaged with smoke,” Cordell wrote on the site Dec. 2.
“John Ruddy was alone inside the house during the fire and is incapable of walking. He suffered a lot of lung damage from smoke inhalation and is currently in the ICU.”
The home was not insured and the GoFundMe donations will help with replacement of damaged items in the house (clothing, food, furniture, etc.), vet bills for their husky and other financial needs due to the accident. Funds are also needed to cover medical bills.
“We appreciate any help we can get at this time,” Cordell said.
“They are beginning the cleaning and rebuilding process at the house. They will need to get all new furniture, food, clothing and supplies for redoing the floors, walls and ceilings in the home.”

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