SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (AP) - A police lieutenant in a suburb of Madison, Wisconsin, says no deaths have been reported after an explosion rocked the downtown area but that authorities will be searching buildings. He opened the drinking establishment in 2016.
Lt. Kevin Konopacki with the Sun Prairie Police Department said, "The response from this community's been fantastic and it's not coming up and saying, 'Hey, what's going on?" Five other firefighters were hurt, and seven others were treated for minor injuries.
Crews were on the scene within minutes, as multiple departments from across the state were in Sun Prairie for Capt. Cory Barr's procession from McFarland. We will keep on building from this.
"We are hurt", Garrison said of his team's loss of one of its veterans, "but we will come back". Firefighters and police in the community of about 30,000 had responded and Konopacki says an evacuation was underway when the blast occurred. An initial sweep found no new victims in the buildings impacted by the blast.
Officials with WE Energies told WISC in Madison, Wisconsin they have been made aware of a contractor hitting a natural gas main in downtown Sun Prairie.
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The pilot was flying from Prince of Wales Island and bound for Ketchikan when the crash occurred, according to the Troopers. One MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter was already headed to the scene from Air Station Sitka, with another being dispatched.
Help has also poured in to Sun Prairie High School in the form of snacks, water and hefty donations to help the Red Cross assist those who were forced to evacuate their homes. Bethlehem Lutheran Church, the couple's church, has started a GoFundMe page to support the family.
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. He said the building across from his shop "literally lifted up".
He said the force of the blast knocked him back in his chair and that he ran outside and saw a ball of fire.
"People were scrambling", Owen said, according to Fox 6.
Witnesses say the boom around 7:15 p.m. Tuesday shook Sun Prairie.