50° F
Light Rain
Light Rain

La Crosse firefighters witness explosion in apartment building

Published On: Apr 26 2013 09:59:58 AM CDT   Updated On: Apr 26 2013 06:31:00 AM CDT

An investigation is underway into an explosion inside a southside La Crosse apartment building.

Nobody was hurt.

The La Crosse Fire Department responded to a call of an alarm going off, and a popping noise, inside the apartment building at 1935 Miller Street early Friday morning.

Firefighters went inside to investigate, checking inside the building's boiler room.  That's when the explosion happened.

"It was big enough where there were flames that shot out of the boiler room area, it crinkled a lot of metal.  There was a water heater involved with it," says Division Chief Tom Wallerich.  "The fire was contained, it was just a quick flash explosion.  Fortunately no one was injured.  It could've been a lot worse than what it was."

The fire department evacuated the building after the explosion, concerned it may have released gas into the building.  The natural gas supply to the building was also shut off.

Crews used special gas meters to make sure the building was safe before allowing residents back into the building.  An MTU bus was brought in so they had some shelter while they waited.  Residents were back in their apartments at about 3:30 a.m.

The La Crosse Fire Department says the explosion caused damage to the water heater and venting within the boiler room, but it was contained to that area.

The cause of the explosion is under investigation by the La Crosse Fire Department.

La Crosse Police, Tri State Ambulance, and the MTU all assisted at the scene.

  • PHOTOS: Madison store helps collect hundreds of Teddy bears for police

    MADISON, Wis.--A west Madison store is part of an effort to collect hundreds of stuffed animals to donate to six police departments in Southern Wisconsin.

    Todd Merryfield, owner of The Learning Shop at 714 S. Gammon Road, said the store is collecting the bears for officers who use them to help comfort children with whom police come in contact.

    "This is a great way to support what (police) do," Merryfield said. "Those are the kids that need something like this to reassure them, calm them down, and let them know that things are all right."

    Nearly 500 plush animals were donated Tuesday, a Learning Shop spokeswoman said. The Madison store's effort is part of a larger initiative through the Bears for Humanity organization. 

    Photos by Doug Wahl

  • Passport


    Mistakes people make when moving abroad

    Moving abroad? has put together a list of six mistakes people make when they're moving abroad. Click through, so you don't make the same mistakes during your move.

  • Hannah McClung

    PHOTOS: Med Flight called to crash on Highway 12

    The westbound lanes of Highway 12 were closed for nearly an hour Tuesday afternoon between Parmenter Street and County Road K near Middleton because of a crash.