Calumet County blast shattered windows of nearby homes

Published: Oct. 10, 2018 at 8:48 AM CDT
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Two people were hurt after a home exploded in Calumet County Wednesday morning.

The explosion happened about 8 a.m. on Fire Lane 12 in the Village of Harrison.

The blast was so powerful it shattered windows in nearby homes. It tore through the side of the home next door.

One of the first people to dial 911 was Jason Lamine, who was taking his kids to the bus stop.

"I turned the corner. We didn't have a direct visual down their street, so when I turned the corner just see this black cloud. I could see the bus down in the distance with the headlights kind of coming through the smoke, and then you could just see this ash and debris everywhere. It did almost look like war zone, that would be a good description of it," Lamine said.

"I grabbed my clothes quick. The dog was barking and going crazy, and looked outside and there was debris all over the lawn," said Jennifer Hoffman, who lives on Fire Lane 12. "There's a mattress out there, sheets hanging on the power line."

Debris still litters Fire Lane 12. Shredded insulation covers roofs and vehicles. Shingles and pieces of wood litter an empty lot across the street. There's a hole in the ground where the house stood.

The owner was not home at the time of the explosion, according to Lt. Mark Wiegert of the Calumet County Sheriff's Office. Two people in nearby homes suffered non-life threatening injuries and were taken to a Green Bay hospital for treatment.

Several neighbors were evacuated to the Village Hall. Officials shut off the gas to the block.

"It was terrible. It was just frightening," said neighbor Catherine Nytes. "It was more than just thunder."

All people are accounted for and there are no fatalities.

"We're extremely grateful that there was not more loss of life because the loss of life potential was extreme, and we were very lucky to not have that," said Chief Amos Mikkelson, Harrison Fire Department.

Some neighbors said the scene looked like a war zone. Some people thought a plane had crashed. Others worried it was an earthquake.

"At first I didn't know what was happening, felt like an earthquake, massive explosion, and you could just feel the shock wave and the house was moving so much I thought the whole thing was coming down," says neighbor Chad Weber.

The cause of the explosion remains under investigation. Officials do not believe the cause is criminal in nature.

Some witnesses believe it was caused by a gas leak, but investigators are still looking into that.

"We do not know what caused the explosion. We don't know if it was the gas that caused the explosion or if the explosion caused the gas leak," Wiegert says. "We don't know that at this time so that's under investigation."

Action 2 News has received several calls and reports from people who heard the explosion in Appleton, Darboy, Wrightstown, Kaukauna and Hilbert.

One caller said her home shook. Others reported hearing a boom.

"Shook our house in Kaukauna. Thought it was a sonic boom," said WBAY Facebook fan Craig Barker.

Fire Lane 12 is located east of the North Shore Golf Club.

The scene of this Calumet County house explosion.

Posted by WBAY TV-2 on Wednesday, October 10, 2018