Verizon confirms Bear Communications performing work before explosion

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SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (WMTV) – A spokesperson confirms a contractor for Bear Communications was working on a fiber project for Verizon Wireless before the explosion.

Police say the contractor hit a gas line that caused the explosion on Tuesday, July 10th. Bear Communications was working for Verizon on a project to improve its wireless network, according to Verizon spokesperson Steve Van Dinter.

“While we have not been contacted about the investigation, both we and Bear are prepared to work with law enforcement, public safety and public officials as they investigate this tragic situation,” said Dinter in a statement.

A spokesperson with Bear Communications also confirms their subcontractor was performing work on site before the explosion, but says "there are many questions that remain to be answered as the investigation continues.”

Bear Communications is the largest communications contractors in the Midwest, according to their website. They were founded in 2001 and their headquarters are in Kansas.

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Here is the statement from Verizon:

Tuesday evening's explosion in Sun Prairie is tragic. Verizon's employees join the community in mourning the loss of a firefighter's life, and we pray for the speedy and complete recovery of those harmed. Verizon contracted with Bear Communications for a fiber project for the Madison area, including Sun Prairie, to improve our wireless network. No Verizon employees were present at the job site. Verizon does contract with local providers in various markets to provide fiber backhaul for our networks. While we have not been contacted about the investigation, both we and Bear are prepared to work with law enforcement, public safety and public officials as they investigate this tragic situation.

Here is the statement from Bear Communications:

First and foremost, our condolences and prayers go out to the family of Sun Prairie volunteer fire department Capt. Cory Barr who lost his life in the explosion. Our prayers also go out to those injured in the accident. We share in the community’s shock and sadness over this tragedy.

A subcontractor of Bear Communications was performing work on site before the explosion, but there are many questions that remain to be answered as the investigation continues. We are fully cooperating with investigators so they can develop a comprehensive overview of what happened and why. Since this is an ongoing investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment any further.