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Editorial: A heroic effort in Rushmore

(Brian Korthals/Daily Globe)

The 2000 census lists Rushmore's population at 376 -- a small community by almost any standard.

But Rushmore -- not to mention several surrounding cities -- came up big last week.

A fire that began Thursday at the United Farmers Co-op elevator in Rushmore destroyed more than 300,000 bushels worth of storage space, a co-op official said. While that alone is a sizeable news item -- it was the loss of an important facility for area farmers -- it's only part of the whole story.

NIne fire departments and more than 100 people responded to the elevator blaze, and several firefighters from Rushmore worked split shifts throughout the evening to combat flare-ups. That kind of herculean effort -- not to mention favorable winds (or lack thereof) -- helped reduce the risk for not just further damage to the elevator site, but to the Rushmore community as a whole.

And it's not just the firefighters who are worthy of kudos, though it clearly takes a special person to combat a fire on a summer's day in 50 pounds of turnout gear. Farmers brought much-needed water to the scene, and local residents and businesses contributed such must-haves as ice and bottled water. We reported in Saturday's Daily Globe that one woman, Bonnie Bosma, delivered coffee to firefighters at around 4 a.m. Friday.

We applaud the bravery, and sense of community, demonstrated in combating the Rushmore fire. As it is often demonstrated, in the face of tragedy can come a sense of triumph.