No foul play suspected in Christmas Eve fire death near downtown Sioux Falls

Authorities say they have a lead on the victim's identity, though no official confirmation has been made.

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Sioux Falls Fire Rescue's mission is to save lives and protect properties.
Hunter Dunteman / Forum News Service

SIOUX FALLS — No foul play is suspected in the death of a man who died in a shed fire on Christmas Eve, an autopsy has determined.

Though no cause of death has been determined, Sioux Falls Police sergeant Aaron Benson said during Wednesday’s regular news briefings that an autopsy has ruled out any foul play in the death of a man discovered when fire crews worked to extinguish a blaze.

The man has not yet been identified, Benson clarified, but noted that police believe they do have a lead that may help confirm the victim’s identity.

“It’s something to go on and it’s something to follow up on,” Benson said.

Fire crews discovered the body while working to extinguish a fire in a back yard storage shed.

The man was found dead on Saturday, Dec. 24, in a detached shed near the 400 block of North Nesmith Avenue, just east of downtown Sioux Falls. A police officer had noticed smoke while on patrol and notified Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, who discovered the body while extinguishing the flames.


During Tuesday’s news briefing, police spokesman Sam Clemens said the homeowner of the property was unaware that anyone was in the shed, and that nobody had permission to be on the property. Benson said on Wednesday that it’s unclear whether the victim was transient.

The Sioux Falls Police Department continues to investigate the death while Sioux Falls Fire Rescue continues to investigate the cause of the fire.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on local news in Sioux Falls. He also writes regional news spanning across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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