A suburban community near Madison, Wisconsin was thrown into panic last night after contract workers struck a natural gas main and caused an explosion that set several buildings on fire.
Multiple news source state that Sun Prairie’s emergency services led a five-block evacuation of the downtown area after the blast leveled several restaurants, cars and local businesses. The blaze took at least three hours to put out, and by the end of it, a firefighter was killed while several others were reportedly hospitalized.
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. The strike was reported to the utility company ahead of the blast, so first responders prioritized efforts to shut down all the local gas lines.
Multiple videos from the area show that the explosion turned a section of Sun Prairie into a smoldering, burning hazard area. 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.
“People were scrambling,” Owen said, according to Fox 6.
Watch above, via Fox 6 in Milwaukee.
[Image via screengrab]
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