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Firefighter killed in gas explosion, fire near Madison, Wisconsin

Firefighter killed in gas explosion, fire near Madison, Wisconsin

Konopacki said the firefighters were taken to a hospital, while the officer was treated at the scene.

Lt. Kevin Konopacki with the Sun Prairie Police Department said, "The response from this community's been fantastic and it's not coming up and saying, 'Hey, what's going on?"

The powerful blast around 7:15 p.m. sent a plume of smoke and flames into the air.

Cory Barr, age 34, was reported to have died in the July 10 blast that demolished Barr House, 100.

Sun Prairie Fire Chief Christopher Garrison told the Associated Press that the department is grieving over Barr's death.

The official Facebook page of the City of Sun Prairie wrote: "All residents are advised to avoid downtown Sun Prairie".

Andy Gay, a WMTV employee, said: "Our whole house shook".

We Energies has said a private contractor struck a natural gas main, causing a leak.

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WE Energies spokeswoman Cathy Schulze says the utility's first responders are in downtown Sun Prairie working to shut off the flow of gas and make the area safe.

Police have blocked off downtown streets from traffic and onlookers.

Firefighters from Sun Prairie and surrounding communities are responding to the blaze.

Flame engulfed several residential buildings, leaving cars and storefronts burning, and miles of smoke. He said the building across from his shop "literally lifted up".

The firefighter who was critically injured has been stabilized, Konopacki said.

He said the force knocked him back in his chair and that he ran outside and saw a ball of fire.

"People were scrambling", said Owen, who lives above his shop. I thought someone had hit the building with their vehicle.

Steve DePula, owner of Salvatore's Tomato Pies restaurant about a half-block from the fire, said he had known Barr for several years.