Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Firefighter Killed in Wisconsin Gas Explosion

Firefighter Killed in Wisconsin Gas Explosion

Konopacki says he doesn't know if anyone else was hurt.

New details are emerging about a firefighter who was killed when a gas leak ignited a building explosion in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin Tuesday night. Witnesses reported the powerful blast about 7:15 p.m.

Dane County Sheriff's Department operations manager Paul Logan says people were hurt in the explosion Tuesday evening in Sun Prairie, which has about 30,000 people. Authorities evacuated a half-mile radius and set up a shelter at Sun Prairie High School. "Our house shook", said Kim Sergenian, who lives in Sun Prairie.

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We Energies has said a private contractor struck a natural gas main, causing a leak.

No deaths were reported, but Konopacki said buildings would be searched once the flames were out.

Police have blocked off downtown streets from traffic and onlookers. It took about two hours before workers were able to get close enough to the scene of the blast to shut off gas lines to the area, Schulze said.

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Firefighters from Sun Prairie and surrounding communities are responding to the blaze.

The blast appeared to be centered on the Barr House, a pub in an area filled with other bars, restaurants and businesses. Steve Owen, a small business owner, told reporters what he saw when firefighters and police officers started to mobilize, and he also recalled that the building across the street from his shop was "literally lifted up" by a fireball.

The firefighter who was critically injured has been stabilized, Konopacki said.

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Jill Thompson, 56, who lives about two blocks away, said she saw smoke immediately after the blast occurred. It sent a plume of smoke and flames into the air. We felt this boom and I thought something landed on our roof, it was so loud.

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