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One dead after Jefferson County home explosion

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 5:20 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2021 at 11:14 PM CDT
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TOWN OF ROME, Wis. (WMTV) - A retired Jefferson County firefighter has died Tuesday after a home exploded in the Town of Rome in Jefferson County.

Emergency crews were called around 2 p.m. on Water Street, just moments after the explosion. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department says the victim was inside the home when it exploded Tuesday afternoon and was the only person home when it happened.

Officials say the debris field was roughly a full city block, stretching throughout the street.

So far, no other injuries have been reported. Officials say the cause may be attributed to a natural gas leak, but it is still under investigation.

Initially, a fire started in the basement of the home. We Energies were called to the area and disconnected the gas and electricity, allowing firefighters to put out the flames.

About 1,200 residents were without power. We Energies said the expected power to be restored around 9 p.m.

“All neighboring residents for the next two blocks were evacuated from their homes,” explained Western Lakes Fire District Chief Brad Bowen

For residents who were displaced due to the explosion, the sheriff’s office said the Sullivan Community Center on N3866 West Street is open. The Red Cross will also be sent to the area to help families affected by the explosion.

Carissa Schaub was at home Tuesday afternoon, when the sound of the explosion rocked her house.

“All I heard was a really big boom...I thought it was like an earthquake and a thunderstorm combined,” Schaub described, adding, “I’m looking around to see if anything just came off the wall or anything.”

It wasn’t until she called a friend that she learned about the explosion, just a few streets down from where she lives.

“[I] called my mom, saying what happened, freaking out,” she said.

Later that afternoon, Schaub saw the aftermath for the first time, watching crews work to clean the debris.

“Seeing all the debris everywhere, it’s just crazy how that can happen in a small town like Rome,” she explained.

Schaub said she did not know the family, but one of her friends did. While no further injuries were reported, one family member, the retired firefighter, died following the explosion.

“We have had our chance to speak to the family and it’s tragic, it’s devastating,” said Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Jeffrey Parker.

****UPDATE**** The Red Cross will remain on scene until approximately 8:15pm for those that are in need of assistance. ...

Posted by Jefferson County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The name of the former firefighter who died has not yet been released. Parker said Tuesday afternoon family members were still being notified.

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