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Six injured in explosion, massive fire at Waukesha County facility

Firefighters responded to reports of a possible explosion at a marine construction business in...
Firefighters responded to reports of a possible explosion at a marine construction business in Waukesha Co., on May 19, 2022.(WISN via CNN)
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 9:28 AM CDT|Updated: May. 19, 2022 at 8:12 PM CDT
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EAGLE, Wis. (WBAY) - Six people were injured in an explosion and massive fire at a marine construction company in Waukesha County.

The call came in at about 7:44 a.m. to Summerset Marine Construction in Eagle. Firefighters arrived within minutes of the call. Twenty-six people were evacuated.

The factory owner said several workers were knocked unconscious. “One of our employees was very heroic. Dragged two of them out right away and, ah, very thankful for that as well,” Chapman said.

Officials report three civilians and three firefighters were injured. Chapman says the most serious injury was a broken leg. A firefighter was hospitalized and is in good condition. The others were treated at the scene. There are no reports of fatalities.

“Very unfortunate situation, but we’ll get to the bottom of what happened, but for now I thank God that everybody’s alive. It looks like everybody’s gonna be okay with our employees. That’s, that’s what I’m thankful for first and foremost,” Chapman said.

Witnesses described one big explosion that shook houses followed by smaller explosions.

Amanda Neu, who works nearby, said, “It basically sounded like a bomb went off, and then it just started with white smoke, but I parked my car and came back out and you could see people like running in and out of the building, people pulling trailers trying to get as much away from the building as possible.”

Authorities say firefighting will be underway at the scene for the “foreseeable” future. There are combustibles beneath thick metal wreckage and it’s unclear when they’ll be able to use excavators to reach some areas. Authorities say some of the combustibles are burning themselves out and there are no hazardous materials in the building.

Authorities say there’s no reason at this time to believe the fire’s cause is suspicious.

At a news conference before 1:30, authorities said firefighters had poured 400,000 gallons of water on the fire. They said there’s a lack of nearby fire hydrants, which isn’t uncommon in that area.

People within a one-mile area were advised to shelter indoors.

Authorities say people will see an increase in smoke from the fire scene when they begin to open up the building.

It will likely take hours to clear the scene at Summerset Marine. Officials say there is no risk to the public. The building did not contain hazardous materials. Emergency crews are asking people nearby to keep windows closed and not run air conditioning due to the smoke in the area.

Officials describe significant structural collapse inside the building. The cause of the explosion and fire is under investigation.

Units were called in from Milwaukee, Kenosha, and Washington counties.

Summerset has a 24,000 sq. ft. facility in Eagle with a showroom, office, factory and warehouse. They make piers for docks and boaters.

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