WHITECLAY FIRE INJURY SUIT POSTPONED 3 MONTHS

Posted 10 months ago

By John Axtell

Whiteclay-1The trial in a civil suit brought against Sheridan County and the city of Rushville by a Pine Ridge man severely burned in grass fire set by authorities in Whiteclay last year has been postponed 3 months because he’s still recovering from a stroke.

The trial in the suit by 52-year old Bryan Bluebird Jr had been scheduled to begin today, but U-S District Judge Lyle Strom has moved it to January 27.

Sheridan County Sheriff Terry Robbins and the Rushville Volunteer Fire Department are also defendants in the suit brought by Bluebird Jr…who suffered burns on roughly 25% of his body, including his hands, face, left leg, lower back and abdomen.

Bluebird was sleeping in a vacant lot in Whiteclay after drinking when firefighters started a control burn to reduce the chances of an out-of-control wildfire. His suit alleges local officials were negligent because they set the fire without thoroughly checking the area.

The defendants say they weren’t liable because they were acting within the scope of their duties, that they had “implied permission” to start the fire because the field’s owner has long tolerated people going into it, and that Bluebird’s injuries were caused by his own negligence in falling asleep in the field while drunk.