Firefighter killed in gas explosion, fire near Madison, Wisconsin

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An explosion rocked a Wisconsin community after a contractor struck a natural gas main in a downtown area filled with bars and other businesses, injuring two firefighters and a police officer, authorities said.

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 blocks of the downtown area had to be evacuated, including a nursing home.

Fires are still burning after a massive gas line explosion in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. "I don't think his legacy is going to be forgotten, and I think the spirit that he embodies is essentially the spirit of Sun Prairie, and Sun Prairie's going to get through this as a community".

A WE Energies spokeswoman says workers for a contractor apparently punctured a natural gas main, sending gas leaking into a building ahead of the explosion.

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

Dane County Sheriff's Department operations manager Paul Logan says people were hurt in the explosion Tuesday evening in Sun Prairie, which has about 30,000 people. The blast destroyed several buildings and ignited a fire that belched a plume of ink-black smoke that could be seen for miles.

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Firefighters work the scene of an explosion in downtown Sun Prairie, Wis., Tuesday, July 10, 2018.

"The incident came in as a gas leak, and that's what we were responding to", Sun Prairie Fire Assistant Chief Bill Sullivan said. One of the firefighters was critically injured and remained hospitalized Wednesday, Konopacki said. Authorities have cordoned off a half-mile radius from the blast zone downtown.

'It shook the whole building, ' Thompson said.

Barr was 2002 Sun Prairie High School graduate.

The area is about half a block from the town's city hall. They own a business down the street from the Barr House.

"It was a very complex situation", she said.

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