Firefighter Killed in Wisconsin Gas Explosion

Clay Curtis
July 13, 2018

Five other firefighters, a police officer and at least six civilians were injured in the blast and sent to the hospital.

Authorities were able to begin an evacuation immediately after the leak was reported.

Steve Owen, 60, who owns Sun City Cyclery and Skates in downtown Sun Prairie, said he saw firefighters and police officers on the street and then the explosion happened.

Around 7 p.m., a huge explosion occurred, sending plumes of smoke high in the area.

Cory Barr, age 34, was reported to have died in the July 10 blast that demolished Barr House, 100.

The official Facebook page of the City of Sun Prairie wrote: "All residents are advised to avoid downtown Sun Prairie. Our house shook", said Kim Sergenian, who lives in Sun Prairie.

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Police say an initial sweep found no new victims in the buildings damaged by a fatal explosion and fire in the southern Wisconsin community of Sun Prairie. Police blocked off downtown streets from traffic and onlookers.

WE Energies spokeswoman Amy Jahns said workers for a private contractor punctured a 4-inch gas main, causing a leak that resulted in the explosion that rained debris around the downtown area and ignited vehicles parked in the area.

"I always looked up to him and admired him because I feel like it takes a special kind of person to be on a fire department and be running in toward something that everyone else was running away from", she said. The area has several businesses including bars and restaurants. He said the building across from his shop "literally lifted up".

'People were scrambling, ' said Owen, who lives above his shop.

Flame engulfed several residential buildings, leaving cars and storefronts burning, and miles of smoke. I thought someone had hit the building with their vehicle.

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