A union leader is identifying the Wisconsin firefighter killed in a gas explosion as a man who also owned a tavern that caught fire the blast.
Firefighters and police in the community of about 30,000 had responded and Konopacki said an evacuation was underway when the blast occurred.
WE Energies spokeswoman Amy Jahns told AP that a contractor apparently punctured a 4-inch natural gas main, which sent gas into the building, ahead of the explosion. Authorities evacuated buildings within a half-mile radius of the center of the explosion.
One firefighter has died and another was critically injured in a gas explosion and fire that leveled several buildings in downtown Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.
The explosion and fire followed about half an hour later, raining fiery debris on downtown streets, igniting vehicles and sending a plume of smoke into the air that could be seen for miles.
All of Sun Prairie came together to pay their respects on Wednesday night as the fire department led the procession to the funeral home.
Former Badger football star and current Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt donated $10,000 to the GoFundMe account for the Barr family. He said he didn't know if anyone else was hurt.
The official Facebook page of the City of Sun Prairie wrote: "All residents are advised to avoid downtown Sun Prairie".
A police officer and several members of the public were treated on the scene with minor injuries.
"They were not doing work on our behalf", Schulze said. As of 2:15 p.m. on July 11, the fundraiser had exceeded its goal - $20,184 of $15,000. He said the building across from his shop "literally lifted up".
'People were scrambling, ' said Owen, who lives above his shop.
He said the force of the blast knocked him back in his chair and that he ran outside and saw a ball of fire.
"It shook the whole building", Thompson said. 'I thought someone had hit the building with their vehicle'.