Bear Communications identifies subcontractor hired to work in Sun Prairie

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Sun Prairie, Wis (WMTV) -- Bear Communications released a statement on Friday afternoon regarding the Sun Prairie explosion. The Kansas-based company identified the subcontractor it hired to work in Sun Prairie in the same area where Tuesday's explosion happened.

Police said a contractor hit a WE Energies gas line, causing the explosion on Tuesday, July 10. Sun Prairie firefighter Cory Barr died while responding. Two other firefighters were among the injured.

Several homes and businesses were destroyed or damaged. The blast also prompted the evacuation of homes and businesses within a half-mile radius of the explosion site at the corner of Main and Bristol Streets in downtown Sun Prairie.

“Bear Communications continues to cooperate fully with all parties involved in the investigation of the explosion that took place Tuesday in Sun Prairie. Bear Communications was building a fiber network in the Madison area. As is common on projects like this, Bear Communications subcontracted out certain scopes of work. The work in the Sun Prairie area was performed by VC Tech, Inc. VC Tech was working in the area prior to the blast, and when VC Tech’s employees smelled gas they notified authorities of the gas leak and assisted in evacuating people from the area before the explosion occurred.

No one from Bear Communications was present on site when the gas line began leaking. The vehicle in the photograph in the media is not owned by Bear Communications and was not operated by any employee of Bear Communications. In Sun Prairie, Bear Communications provides its subcontractors with magnetic signs with the Bear Communications logo for their vehicles.

Again, Bear Communications employees are cooperating fully with investigators. Further comments at this time would not be appropriate given the ongoing investigation.”

This statement was made public by Scott Stein of Bear Communications.

Bear Communications is the largest communications contractor in the Midwest, according to the company's website. It was founded in 2001.

On Thursday, NBC15 learned that Bear Communications was working for Verizon on a project to improve its wireless network, according to Verizon spokesperson Steve Van Dinter.

A spokesperson with Bear Communications also confirmed Thursday that its subcontractor was performing work on site before the explosion, but says "there are many questions that remain to be answered as the investigation continues.” It did not identify the subcontract until Friday's release.