The Wisconsin State Journal
May 11—The Madison Fire Department is pointing to an accidental propane leak in a garage as the likely source of an explosion Tuesday night that blew up a condo unit, injuring four people and displacing 21 residents from the area.
The explosion just before 6 p.m. shook the neighborhood of multiunit residential buildings in the 900 block of South Gammon Road, near Park Ridge Drive, on the Southwest Side. One person was taken to a hospital with serious injuries. Three others with less serious injuries took themselves in for medical treatment.
The Fire Department said early Wednesday evening that while “the investigation is not complete … at this time, the leading hypothesis is that the explosion is traced to a propane source located within the garage.”
Firefighters rescued three pets, according to Fire Department spokesperson Cynthia Schuster, none of which appeared injured. A fourth pet, a cat, also was found later unharmed.
The building where the explosion occurred has eight units, the Fire Department said, as does a nearby building that also was damaged. Estimates of the damage to the buildings were not yet available.
The Fire Department’s Heavy Urban Rescue Team on Tuesday shored up the collapsed structure and deployed listening devices to search for trapped victims, Schuster said. The scene was cleared by about 10:30 p.m.
A representative with the third-party management firm, Caribou Property Management, that manages the homeowners association for the affected condo and others in the area was at the site answering questions from displaced residents Wednesday. Community association manager Noah Tompkins said the company was not yet answering questions from the media about the explosion.
Earlier, Madison Gas and Electric spokesperson Steve Schultz said gas and electricity to the condo and surrounding properties were shut off shortly after the explosion, and MGE crews that conducted tests in the area found “no evidence of a gas leak.”
“There were no indications prior to or after the event to indicate that any gas leaks were present,” he said.
South Gammon was closed to traffic until late Tuesday night as crews worked.
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