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SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. — An explosion rocked a Wisconsin community after a contractor struck a natural gas main in a downtown area filled with bars and other businesses, killing one firefighter and injuring several others, police officers and civilians, authorities said.
First responders rushed to the scene of a reported gas leak, and an evacuation was already underway when the first blast happened Tuesday evening, said police Lt. Kevin Konopacki in Sun Prairie, a Madison, Wisconsin, suburb of about 30,000. He added that lives were likely saved by the evacuation, which was set in motion by people smelling the odor of natural gas.
CBS News also reported the suspected cause of the explosion:
WE Energies spokeswoman Amy Jahns said workers for a contractor apparently punctured a 4-inch natural gas main, sending gas leaking into a building ahead of the explosion. All 12 gas lines in the area were shut off by about 9:30 p.m.
The article goes on to state the following:
Firefighters were still battling flames more than three hours after the explosion. The powerful blast, at around 7:15 p.m., sent a plume of smoke and flames into the air. By morning, the fire was pretty much out, contained to one or two buildings, and it appeared everyone had been accounted for. A search of the area didn’t turn up any additional victims, officials said.
A half-mile evacuation area was still in place Wednesday morning, with more than 100 people out of their homes, reports CBS Madison affiliate WISC-TV.
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