Explosion follows gas main strike in Wisconsin town

BREAKING: Gas EXPLOSION completely destroys buildings in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, USA

Ben Handelsman, a local reporter wrote on Twitter that two firefighters and one police officer are among those injured in the large gas explosion.

Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, identified the firefighter who was killed as Cory Barr.

Police received a report of a gas leak around 6:21 p.m. and started to evacuate the downtown Sun Prairie area.

Spokespeople from WE Energies said the explosion happened after contractors evidently punctured a 4-inch hole in the main line, causing a natural gas leak for a building in the area.

Several buildings were significantly damaged, and there is no timetable yet for when people will be allowed back in the half-mile radius/evacuation zone.

Paul Logan, Dane County Sheriff's Department operations manager, said several people were hurt in the explosion in Sun Prairie, which has about 30,000 people.

The first explosion happened around 7 p.m.at the Barr House building, shattering business windows along Main Street.

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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.

Former Badger football star and current Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt donated $10,000 to the GoFundMe account for the Barr family. "The Sun Prairie Fire Department is strong". He said he didn't know if anyone else was hurt.

Police could not confirm any civilian fatalities or injuries. They said it will likely remain in place for much of the day, before residents get the "all-clear" to return to their homes.

Posted July 11, 2018, 5:05 a.m.

The Red Cross assisted evacuees at a shelter set up at Sun Prairie High School. He said the building across from his shop 'literally lifted up'.

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

He said the force of the blast knocked him back in his chair and that he ran outside and saw a ball of fire. I thought someone had hit the building with their vehicle. "Our house shook", said Kim Sergenian, who lives in Sun Prairie.

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