7-11-18 fatal gas line explosion in sun prairie

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (AP) — A massive natural gas explosion killed a firefighter and leveled portions of a city block in a southern Wisconsin community, including a bar the firefighter owned, authorities said Wednesday.  The blast in Sun Prairie on Tuesday evening also injured at least a dozen people and left residents of the Madison suburb wondering how they’ll put their downtown back together.  “It’s just hard to look the pictures (of the explosion and ruined downtown) and see what our city looks like now,” resident Erin Updike said.  The blast happened after police got a call at 6:30 p.m. that construction workers working on a downtown street had punctured a WE Energies natural gas line. Police and firefighters arrived to investigate and were evacuating the area when the gas exploded shortly after 7 p.m. The blast ignited four-story high flames that burned long into the night and belched a smoke plume visible for miles.  Sun Prairie Fire Department Capt. Cory Barr was killed in the blast, said Mahlon Mitchell, president of the state firefighters union. Barr had been with the department for at least 10 years. He also worked as a real estate agent and owned the Barr House, a tavern that was destroyed in the explosion.