Was the fire at the Work Release jail preventable with a simple policy change?

After talking to a Minnehaha County official yesterday, I’m starting to wonder if the fire at the jail could have been prevented if they were following the city’s policy on tobacco free zones?

There is a presentation on Tuesday about the policy at the Sioux Falls City Council informational meeting. I found this slide interesting;

City-owned buildings; Smoking prohibited 25 feet from the entrance.

So even if the jail is county property it does lie within in the city limits of Sioux Falls. So why was this butt holder SO close to the building? Public property IMO is any Public property within the city limits, whether the county owns it or not. Shouldn’t they be following the city’s rule? Or should the county be setting their own rules?

We now know the cause of the fire at the Minnehaha County Correction Center last month. Fire officials say it was accidentally started by a cigarette butt in a holder in the corner of the building.

“It sat, it smoldered for quite a few minutes and then started the fire,” Dean Lanier with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue said.

It also brings up another question. Was this an employee’s butt holder? It seems the location of the holder would suggest that it was. So why doesn’t the county implement a similar policy? It seems like this could be a very expensive lesson to the taxpayers of the county.