Summerset Marine Construction Explosion Injures 6 in Eagle, Wisconsin
The small town of Eagle, Wisconsin, was rocked yesterday morning when an explosion triggered a massive fire at the Summerset Marine Construction plant, leaving six people injured.
Multiple Explosions Heard After Fire Crews Arrived on Scene
The May 19th blast erupted shortly after 7:30 a.m., shaking a nearby elementary school and sending thick black smoke into the air above the community located roughly 35 miles from Milwaukee.
“I’m like, ‘wow, something just ran into the side of the house.’ And my husband said it’s probably a bird, and I said it must be an elephant then,” one resident living near the plant told WISN News 12. “I looked out my bedroom window and saw black smoke, so I knew there was trouble in the industrial park.”
About 100 firefighters responded to the incident, including departments as far away as Washington, Kenosha, and Milwaukee counties. A lack of fire hydrants in the area meant that around 30 trucks had to be brought in to haul water from two nearby lakes to the scene. The factory sustained extensive damage, including a partial roof collapse that trapped combustible materials in the building. With diesel and liquid petroleum burning inside, multiple explosions continued for about 30 minutes after crews arrived.
Injuries Included Broken Femur, Concussions, & Heat Exhaustion
Because of the extensive smoke generated by the fire, residents living within one mile of the facility were asked to stay inside, keep windows shut and avoid using air conditioners. Nearby Eagle Elementary School was evacuated due to the smoke, and students were sent home for the day. Several nearby businesses were also evacuated but were able to reopen after a short period.
Twenty-six workers were inside the plant when the explosion erupted, but all had managed to make it outside when fire crews arrived. Three employees were injured in the blast, including one person taken to a local hospital in serious condition. Summerset Marine owner Larry Chapman later confirmed that the seriously injured worker had suffered a fractured femur and was in surgery as of noon on Thursday.
Two employees sustained concussions and were treated at the scene. Three firefighters were also hurt while working to extinguish the blaze, including one hospitalized in good condition. The others were treated at the scene for heat exhaustion.
Summerset Marine Explosion May Have Erupted in Welding Bay
Located at W357 S8715 Chapman Lane in Eagle, Summerset Marine Construction provides lift and pier services, including installation, maintenance, and repairs, to Lake Country property owners in southeast Wisconsin. Summerset’s 24,000 square foot facility in Eagle includes a showroom, office, factory, and warehouse.
While no official cause has been identified, an unidentified employee told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the explosion originated in a welding bay. Multiple agencies, including the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, are investigating the incident.
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