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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
LA CROSSE, Wis. -

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.

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