One Firefighter Killed, 1 Critically Injured in Gas Explosion in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

Firefighter killed in gas explosion on Main Street in Sun Prairie (WISN-TV/Milwaukee).

Sun Prairie police and firefighters responded about 6:21 p.m. Tuesday July 10, 2018 to a report of a gas odor near the Barr House, 100 West Main Street, and Glass Nickel Pizza at 101 West Main Street.

A private contractor had struck a natural gas main, and an evacuation was in progress. An explosion occurred, which injured six firefighters and a police officer, and civilians. A plume of smoke rose high in the sky, debris rained down on Main Street, several vehicles started on fire, and the explosion was heard and felt for miles. The explosion and resulting fire also leveled several buildings, and severely damaged several other buildings, in downtown Sun Prairie.

One of the firefighters died from injuries, and another firefighter was critically injured. Firefighters continued to battle flames more than three hours after the explosion. Civilians suffered minor injuries, and none required hospitalization. The exact number of civilians injured was unknown.

Sun Prairie police Lt. Kevin Konopacki said that lives were likely saved as a result of the evacuation.

Police continued to evacuate a five block area. Evacuees met for shelter at Sun Prairie High School at 888 Grove Street, Sun Prairie. The high school is about 0.75 mile south-southeast of the explosion scene.

No people are reported missing, but firefighters will search buildings to confirm there are no unknown people trapped in rubble.

We Energies (Wisconsin Gas) crews are on the scene, and were working to shut the gas supply to the ignited gas main, which could be seen burning in video of the scene. WE Energies spokeswoman Amy Jahns reported that workers for the private contractor apparently punctured a 4-inch natural gas main, causing gas to leak into a building before the explosion. All 12 natural gas lines in the area were shut off by about 9:30 p.m.

The blast occurred about one-half block from City Hall, and appeared to be centered at the Barr House, a popular bar with 4.5/5 stars on Yelp. The bar was obliterated.

An explosion rocked downtown Sun Prairie after a contractor struck a natural gas main Tuesday evening, July 10, 2018.

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Barr House Aerial View on Google Satellite, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
Barr House Aerial View on Google Satellite, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin