Downtown Sun Prairie gets closer to normalcy, investigation still underway

Published: Aug. 16, 2018 at 2:10 PM CDT
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The City of Sun Prairie posted on its Facebook Page, Aug. 16, more of a plan for the downtown streets. The streets were closed after the July 10 explosion.

The explosion destroyed multiple buildings at the intersection of Main and Bristol Streets. Sun Prairie Firefighter Captain Cory Barr was killed and two other firefighters were injured.

On Aug. 16, the City of Sun Prairie posted an update on its Facebook page.

Downtown Update (8/15/2018) Old City Hall: On Monday, City Staff met with the building owner, David Wilder to discuss...

Posted by City of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, USA on Thursday, August 16, 2018

According to the post, on Monday, city staff met with members of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to negotiate an agreement to reconstruct the intersection. The reconstruction would be completed by Dec. 1.

The agreement would be discussed at the City Council meeting on Aug. 21. Roadwork will begin on Sept. 3.

Debris/Building removal

City officials say debris has been removed from the street. Buildings will be removed and basements will be filled in. They expect the work to continue until Aug. 31.

Twenty-four-hour security services will end Aug. 22.

Old City Hall

Sun Prairie officials also posted the owner of the Old City Hall building agreed to stabilize the building by Aug. 31.

NBC15 has been following the investigation into what happened every step of the way. New information hasn't been released for weeks, so NBC15 asked a local fire investigator to explain the process.

Randy Way, Fire Instructor at Madison College and Lt. at the Oregon Fire Department, said the explosion in Sun Prairie made fire crews think twice about protocol moving forward.

"It really hit home to the crews, about doing everything right when on scene of one of these," Way said.

Making sure each step is followed is important to the credibility of evidence later down the road for the investigation, according to Way, which is why the investigation could take months before any information may be released.

"Evidence is only original once," Way said.

He said there are multiple investigations going on, with at least three different angles: criminal, workplace safety and insurance.

From the criminal standpoint, crews are trying to determine the timeline of events and if there was a criminal act.

From the workplace safety standpoint, which could involve state or federal authorities, crews are trying to determine if there were any violation in the workplace safety rule.

From the insurance standpoint, insurers are working with companies to determine who they may litigate claims around the disaster .

"There really is never any going back in this type of thing," Way said. "If you make a mistake at this stage you may impair the credibility of the evidence forever."

While the community wants answers now, Way said patience for the investigation is important not only for the community but for the credibility in facts that will hopefully find answers and closure.

"Go slow and getting right because you only get one chance," Way said.