​Full Throttle Saloon Fire: Key Icon Symbolizing Great American Motorcycle Trip Done

Author: Michael StevensBy:
Staff Reporter
Sep. 10, 2015

A “Full Throttle” Saloon fire causes chaos as numerous agencies were called in to battle the massive blaze at the famous saloon east of Sturgis overnight Monday. The call came in just after midnight, and crews first on the seen could see smoke coming from the roof of the main structure of The World’s Largest Biker Bar, according to KRMG

Soon, the entire facility was engulfed in the fire which spread to nearby structures. Heavy smoke rose into the early morning air as fire crews raced back and forth bringing water and supplies to the Full Throttle Saloon.

Full Throttle Saloon fire fought with a lack of water

The Full Throttle Saloon fire was fought with a lack of water, and that prompted officials to call in tenders, which then had to go back and reload.

A call came out from those in charge to keep people out of the fire as the structure burned. Crews worked to “surround and drown,” or fight the fire from outside the Full Throttle Saloon by surrounding it.

Authorities from Piedmont, Vale, Whitewood, Sturgis and Fort Meade were among the agencies called in to fight the blaze. They remain on scene this morning as the rubble continues to smolder at a site that is now a total loss.

Fire crews had to temporarily close Highway 34 in front of the structure because of the dangerous conditions. The Full Throttle Saloon appeared to be a total loss as crews battled the blaze throughout Tuesday morning.

The bar on South Dakota Highway 34 has been the subject of a reality television series. Its amenities include zip lines, musical stages and rental cabins.

The Full Throttle Saloon is owned by Michael Ballard, and his rally-week life running the establishment is the plot for a television show which filmed once again this year.

A key icon symbolizing the great American Bike Trip is gone, and with it, most likely two symbols of America’s architectural past. The world’s largest biker bar and one of the key meeting points of the annual Motorcycle Rally that takes place every summer in August, has been lost.

Despite attempts by the firemen to put out the smoke and flames inside the Full Throttle Saloon, they were forced to battle the fire from outside, when the heat and smoke became too unbearable. Thanks to high winds and a possible gas line leak, the building complex was engulfed in flames at 2:30am and collapsed a half hour later, according to reports from the fire department and local news.

No one was injured in the Full Throttle Saloon fire, nor was there anyone in the locked building at the time of the incident. The building complex and all its relics and symbols were considered a total loss.

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