ATF Determines Cause of Full Throttle Saloon Fire

The results of the Sturgis fire investigation

Full Throttle Fire

Full Throttle Saloon consumed by fire.

Sturgis Volunteer Fire Department

Last week we reported on the Full Throttle fire out in Sturgis. The cause had yet to be determined but since then there’s been an investigation and here’s the official ATF press release on the cause.

STURGIS, SD — The National Response Team (NRT) from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), along with agents from the ATF St. Paul Field Division, the South Dakota State Fire Marshal’s Office, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, the Meade County Sheriff’s Office and the Sturgis Police Department have completed the investigation into the cause of the September 8th fire at the Full Throttle Saloon located at 12997 South Dakota Highway 34, Sturgis, SD.

The cause of the fire was ruled to be accidental, announced South Dakota State Fire Marshal Director Paul Merriman and ATF St. Paul Field Division Special Agent in Charge James Modzelewski. Investigators can say conclusively that the fire originated in the main part of the bar and has been determined to be accidental in nature.

SAC Modzelewski said, “The ATF National Response Team and our investigative partners have completed their assignments at the fire scene. Over the past five days investigators have taken countless photographs, inspected and examined artifacts recovered from the scene and conducted numerous interviews. The information developed was reviewed and analyzed to assist in determining the cause of the fire.” The ATF National Response Team departed Sturgis today.
Damage is estimated at approximately $10 million.

ATF’s NRT, comprised of ATF personnel from across the country, responded to the scene to work alongside state and local investigators. The NRT includes a canine team, certified fire investigators, forensic chemist, electrical and fire protection engineers, and additional specialists. This NRT activation was the 15th this fiscal year and the 773rd since the team was created. More information on ATF and the NRT can be found at