Hearing addresses complaint against contractor in Sun Prairie Explosion

MADISON, Wis (WMTV) - Arguments between utility companies involved in the Sun Prairie continue, as they try and prove who is to blame for the blast that ultimately killed Fire Capt. Cory Barr and injured two other firefighters last summer.

On Friday, The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) held a public hearing regarding a complaint brought forward by one of the utility companies, USIC Locating Services.

USIC, the company contracted to mark gas lines, filed a complaint against VC Tech, the company contracted to dig in the area.

Last July, VC Tech workers struck an underground gas lines in downtown Sun Prairie, leading to the deadly explosion.

The regional director for USIC, Brian Dreesen testified that VC Tech did not have a ticket for working in the area, meaning they did not notify the 811 Diggers Hotline before starting work.

“For Wisconsin, it’s every excavator needs to call in a locator request and provide where they are going to be doing excavation,” said Dreesen.

The owner of VC Tech, Valentin Cuciuba argued they took the project over from another contractor, Bear Communications.

Cuciuba said a representative with Bear Communications told him they had called Diggers Hotline already, and the site was ready for them to start working at.

“Even in the intersection there was gas marked, communication mark and power marked, so the whole was completely marked,” he said.
The PSC will review all of the evidence gathered, and in the coming months will ultimately determine if a fine needs to be issued.

VC Tech and Bear Communications were both cited
earlier in the year by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for failing to notify the hotline.

In December, the Sun Prairie Police Dept. concluded its investigation
into the blast, and said there was no probable cause to believe a crime was committed, stating the error appeared to be a result of miscommunications between the utility companies.