Global News

Flames in street after Wisconsin gas mains explosion

Flames in street after Wisconsin gas mains explosion

At least five firefighters, a police officer and six others were hurt in the explosion, which happened about 45 minutes after first responders were alerted to the smell of gas around a main line operated by We Energies, a private operator, Konopacki said.

Firefighters and police in the community of about 30,000 had responded and Konopacki said an evacuation was underway when the blast occurred.

Lt. Konopacki said Wednesday morning during a press conference that firefighters did an initial clearing of buildings in Sun Prairie - and no one was found. Firefighters were still battling flames more than three hours after the explosion.

Jill Thompson, 56, who lives about two blocks from where the blast occurred, told AP: "It shook the whole building". Firefighter and Barr House owner Cory Barr was killed in that blast. She said he went to check on a gas leak while other firefighters evacuated people. We felt this boom and I thought something landed on our roof, it was so loud.

Firefighters work the scene of an explosion in downtown Sun Prairie on Tuesday. "We saw the smoke immediately".

Further information about the dead firefighter will made available through the Medical Examiner's office at a later time. The Barr House and Glass Nickel Pizza were blown up after the gas ignited, police said.

WE Energies spokeswoman Amy Jahns said workers for a contractor apparently punctured a 4-inch natural gas main, sending gas leaking into a building ahead of the explosion.

Police said they were called to the area around 6:20 p.m. for complaints of the smell of gas, and then there was an explosion. Around 500 customers in the area are still without gas service. "What can you tell me?' it's people coming up and saying, 'How can I help?'"