Series of explosions at manufacturing plant injures 6 in Wisconsin
Three workers were injured in an explosion at a Wisconsin manufacturing plant on Thursday morning, and three firefighters were injured while battling the blaze and subsequent explosions.
Authorities say the initial call of a fire at Summerset Marine Construction in the town of Eagle was followed by a large explosion inside the building, located at W357 S8715 Chapman Lane.
Local police and firefighters arrived on the scene within 2-3 minutes, quickly learning that all 24 factory workers had exited the building. This was a critical factor as the building’s metal foundation was extensively damaged by the blast, forcing firefighters to fight the blaze from the outside.
“There was an explosion very quickly after the initial call for fire and these subsequent explosions continued for about 30 minutes after firefighters and law enforcement arrived,” said Matt Haerter, deputy fire chief. of the Western Lakes Fire District, during a 1:30 p.m. press conference.
“It was a defensive fire for the duration of the fire, which meant firefighters were never able to get inside the building. There was significant structural collapse before firefighters arrived in because of what happened inside.”
Three employees were injured. Two were treated at the scene while the third was taken to an area hospital with serious injuries. During the long shootout, many other explosions occurred. One firefighter was injured and was taken to hospital in good condition, while two others were suffering from heat exhaustion.
“We can say with certainty that everyone was able to get out of the fire,” Haerter said.
No further explosions are expected and the fire, while still burning on Thursday afternoon, was 100% contained. Due to the heavy smoke, residents within a mile of the scene are asked to stay indoors, keep windows closed and avoid using air conditioners to keep outside air at bay.
The 5-alarm fire required assistance from numerous fire departments, including as far away as Milwaukee and Kenosha counties. There were 30 tankers at the scene Thursday morning, authorities said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but nothing suspicious is expected.
Summerset Marine Construction manufactures lakeside services, namely the construction of docks and elevators.