Oregon duplex under construction explodes; damaging 2 other homes

Oregon duplex under construction explodes; damaging 2 other homes
Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 9:09 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 21, 2022 at 12:44 PM CDT
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VILLAGE OF OREGON, Wis. (WMTV) - No injuries have been reported after a house in Oregon that was under construction exploded, utterly destroying the structure and damaging two nearby houses.

Oregon Fire Chief Glenn Linzmeier confirmed these latest details during a news conference held near the scene, in the 800 block of Oregon Parks Ave., just hours after the blast happened. He described the structure where it occurred as a total loss, saying it was, “gone, blown up.”

A neighbor, Jim Beninato, recounted being in bed around 8:30 a.m. when all of the sudden his own home started shaking, saying, “(i)t felt like a car just torpedoed into our home.” Beninato said people throughout the neighborhood came running out of their houses, each thinking their own homes were struck by something.

“Then, we saw one of the duplexes was completely leveled and the duplex next to it was on fire,” he continued. “That’s when we knew exactly what happened.”

According to Linzmeier, a public works crews was the first to report hearing the explosion, spurring the police and fire departments to start assembling. As they were doing so, the first 911 calls started coming in and confirming where the blast was centered.

Contractors and subcontractors told emergency crews nobody was working at the home that was under construction. No one was in the other two homes, although a dog was inside a home that caught fire after the explosion, Linzmeier added. The dog was rescued and reunited with its family.

Investigators have not determined the cause and the fire chief predicted multiple agencies would remain there for the rest of the day ensuring the scene was safe and to investigate. He pointed out fencing would likely go up around the three structures to secure them; however, both Linzmeier and Oregon Police Chief Jennifer Pagenkopf noted they had not seen any indication at the time that the explosion was deliberate.

Approximately 60-70 firefighters from several departments responded to the three-alarm call as well as police and medical teams from multiple other departments.

Linzmeier assured the community the area was stabilized. He noted that gas has been restored to the neighborhood after being shut off while crews contained the scene.

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