Rushville man burned in fire files notice of pending suit
A man who was burned in a controlled grass fire in the Nebraska border town of Whiteclay has filed papers to sue local authorities for negligence, saying they failed to spot him lying in a field and ignited the blaze on a dangerously windy day.
The man burned, Bryan Blue Bird Jr., lives just across the state line on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation,
Blue Bird, who said he hadn't been drinking when he was burned, has hired an Omaha lawyer and filed tort-claim papers that will allow him to proceed with a lawsuit against Sheridan County and the Rushville Fire Department.
Blue Bird said members of the volunteer department should have seen him when they set the blaze March 6. He suffered burns on roughly 25 percent of his body, including his hands, face, left leg, lower back and abdomen.
"I'm a grown man, but I've cried a lot since this happened," Blue Bird said. "I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy, on anyone's worst enemy. It's horrible."
Phone messages left Thursday and Friday with the Sheridan County Sheriff's Office, which supervised the Rushville fire crew, were not returned. An assistant Sheridan County attorney said officials had turned the case over to their insurer, which would hire a lawyer to represent them.
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