UPDATE: Residents near building 109 still waiting to go home while fundraiser benefits residents who lost their home
Updated: 7:16 p.m. on March 17, 2018
It's been nearly two weeks since an explosion in Beaver Dam killed a man and left an apartment building uninhabitable.
Since then, the community has coming together to support those that lost everything they owned. A bank account has already been set up to help the residents building of building 109. On Saturday, there were multiple fundraiser to add to that total.
The Beaver Dam Professional Firefighter Charities held a bowling tournament. But raffle prizes, and uniformed firefighters asking for "fill the boot" fundraiser sent even more money to the residents starting over.
The charity matched the first 5,000 donated. Donations rose above that number just a half hour into the fundraiser.
Inside Tower Lanes, the family on lane three is thinking about the residents of building 109.
"I went to high school with some of the tenants that lived there. We worked out at the Anytime Fitness gym in Beaver Dam," said Brianna North.
North came from Madison to the bowling alley with her family and friends.
"I can't imagine. I was trying to think of what I would take from my own home," said North.
Firefighter/Paramedic Nicholas Guthery put everything together.
"It's one of those things that really hits home when you're the one seeing this apartment structure burn to the ground," said Guthery.
After seeing so many of people's belonings go up in flames, he wanted to be able to give that back. Guthery says he is thankful for all the local businesses that donated auction items in such a short time. The fundraiser was put together in less than a week.
"I would be devastated myself if I lost all my personal belongings. I don't know what I'd do. That's why we stepepd up and threw on this event, so we can get them some money to start back up and get on their feet."
If you missed the fundraiser, it's not too late to help. All the money is going to the fund set up at horizon bank. Future donations can go directly to them.
Anyone wishing to donate money for the residents that have been displaced can make the donation at any Dodge County Horicon Bank. The money will be used for residents of Building 109 only. The name of the donation fund is Dodge County COAD / Beaver Dam Apartments.
Anyone wanting to donate anything else should bring the items to St. Vincent DePaul or American National Bank.It's been nearly two weeks since an explosion in Beaver Dam killed a man and left an apartment building uninhabitable.
Updated: 10:07 a.m. March 16, 2018
BEAVER DAM, Wis. (CBS 58) -- As of Friday morning some people who live near surrounding buildings in Beaver Dam have not been allowed inside their homes due to unsafe air quality.
According to the Beaver Dam Fire Department, the bad air quality is being caused by soot from the fire. The fire department was planning on wetting down the smoldering debris Friday morning just enough to decrease the smoke but not so much that it causes run off.
Some residents of the effected buildings may be able to return Friday afternoon, but could be delayed until Friday night depending on air quality levels.
An assisted living community is one of the buildings still evacuated. They are waiting for the all clear from officials. Residents of the community spent the night in a local hotel.
Meanwhile, The FBI is asking for help from law enforcement agencies and the public in identifying any leads about the activities and associations of the man killed in a Beaver Dam apartment explosion.
Investigators believe 28-year-old Benjamin Morrow was making bombs in his apartment when an accidental detonation took his life March 5. Authorities say they found large quantities of explosives and a variety of unstable chemicals.
The entire apartment building was burned down Thursday because the chemicals could not be removed safely.
Morrow was a quality control technician for Richelieu Foods and had previously worked as an associate scientist at PPD of Middleton, a contract research company.
Updated: 11:30 p.m. on March 15, 2018
BEAVER DAM, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Some people who lived in the burned-down apartment building said having some of their belongings back was better than Christmas morning.
Kathy Hagen watched her home burn Thursday, able to point out where her kitchen and living room once stood.
She says she was able to get through the emotional experience knowing FBI bomb technicians had retrieved some of her most valuable items, including photo albums, family heirlooms and a box containing passports and social security cards.
"I just had no idea they were going to bring this kind of stuff out," Hagen said.
Beyond what was retrieved though, Hagen lost everything.
Beaver Dam officials said the controlled burn was the only way to eliminate the danger of the explosive chemicals inside Building 109.
That didn't make it an easy decision.
"It waskind of a double-edged sword, bittersweet," said Beaver Dam Fire Chief Al Mannell. "Having to do this operation in the first place was horrible."
Hagen is staying at a friend's for now in a nearby town. She says she plans to move back into the same Beaver Dam apartment complex.
People living in two neighboring buildings to the wreckage were not allowed to return home Thursday night because of unsafe air quality.
Updated: 10:30 a.m. on March 15, 2018
BEAVER DAM, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The controlled burn of a Beaver Dam apartment building where a man was killed in an apartment explosion has begun.
Multiple CBS 58 crews were stationed in Beaver Dam to capture the moment when the building was set on fire.
Bomb Techs from the FBI conducted a preparatory sweep of the building before lighting the blaze which is expected to remove ammunition and hazardous material.
While the bomb techs were inside they also grabbed some important property to some of the tenants. This property included important papers, jewelry, money and other family heirlooms.
The move contradicts what officials had previously told tenants when they said they would not be able to recover anything else. But since bomb techs had to go in anyway, officials decided they could use that opportunity to recover some belongings.
Updated 9:40 p.m. on March 14
BEAVER DAM, Wis. (CBS 58) -- People who knew Benjamin Morrow paint a different picture of the man behind the explosion.
Long-time neighbors gave insight into the Morrow family.
"You are concerned when you lived so close to someone who was doing stuff like that," said Black Creek resident Christy Stover.
Stover says she is worried about her family after learning the man killed in the Beaver Dam Apartment explosion grew up in her neighborhood. She currently lives across the street from his childhood home where his parents currently live.
"You just wonder if there's something over there too, you know, was he doing this beforehand? I don't know yet because I haven't heard he was just playing around with it or did he have bad intents on actually hurting somebody. We don't know," Stover said.
Neighbors says they never had any issues with the Morrow family, they were just very private.
Another resident who worked with Morrow at Richelieu Foods in Beaver Dam said they were shocked because Morrow seemed like a very nice man.
FBI agents had been at the store recently and they continue their investigation.
Updated: 5:36 p.m. on March 14. 2018
BEAVER DAM, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Beaver Dam Police have released the name of the man who was killed in an apartment explosion last week.
Authorities say DNA tests confirm 28-year-old Benjamin Morrow was inside the apartment when it blew up. Officials tell CBS 58 hazardous chemical materials are the cause and that they need to burn the complex to the ground to safely dispose of any explosive materials still inside.
The Police Chief reiterated they still believe Morrow was making a bomb in his apartment due to the volatile unstable chemicals investigators discovered.
CBS 58 has learned Morrow had a history of working with chemicals. In college, he got a degree in pre-pharmacy and then worked at Pharmaceutical Product Development in Middleton for more than three years. For the last year, he’s been at Richelieu Foods, a manufacturer in Beaver Dam.
Investigators say the chemicals still pose a danger in the building so they have no other choice but to set the place on fire.
“We are not controlling the burn of the 109 building. That’s going to be allowed to burn freely. Once again, because it’s heat that degrades the explosive material,” said Beaver Dam Fire Chief Al Mannel.
The burn is set to begin Thursday morning at 10 and go for as long as it needs to.
Updated: 11:10 a.m. on March 14, 2018
BEAVER DAM, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Beaver Dam Police have positively identified the man found dead after an apartment explosion.
DNA testing confirmed that the man was 28-year-old Benjamin Morrow. Investigators say Morrow was living at apartment 11 in building 109 of Village Glen Apartments in Beaver Dam.
The FBI has set up a 24-hour tip line at 1-800-225-5324 for anyone who may have information. Callers will need to choose option 3.
A media briefing is being planned for 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Updated: 10:00 p.m. on March 13, 2018
Updated: 11:22 a.m. on March 13, 2018
BEAVER DAM, Wis. (CBS 58) – Authorities in Beaver Dam are postponing the controlled burn of the apartment building damaged by an explosion.
Officials say they are moving the controlled burn to Thursday at 10 a.m. due to anticipated windy conditions.
Residents of the other Village Glen Apartments near building 109 will now need to evacuate by 9 a.m.
Updated: 9:25 p.m. on March 12, 2018
BEAVER DAM, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Days after a 28-year-old man was found dead inside an apartment after an explosion, first reponders sued a controlled explosion to blow up his apartment because of the chemicals still inside.
They now say the entire building will need to come down, meaning the people who live in building 109 will lose everything in their homes.
"I'm thinking about just pulling my kids out Wednesday and leaving town. Then they don't have to see it, they don't have to hear about it until it's all done," said Jolene Miller.
Miller lives just feet outside the evacuation zone at the Village Glen Apartments. A 500-foot radius outside of building 109 is a mandatory evacuation for the controlled burn. There is a quarter mile area that will be closed, bordering Knaup and Spring streets. In that closure area, there's a shelter-in-place policy during the burn. Once Wednesday’s burn starts, Miller won’t be able to come or go from her home until the fire is out.
"What could have happened if he put them in a school? You don't know where he could have put them. He could have endangered other people too. It could have been really scary for us and it is," said Miller's daughter, Carma.
Miller says her daughters have been scared since the explosion. Her daughter Gabi was startled by a police vehicle last night.
"We saw the spelling on the car; it said police. Jasmine and us closed the blinds and did everything we could to make ourselves safe," said Gabi.
Miller doesn't know what she'll do for sure on the day of the controlled burn. She has children that go to public school and online school. She is worried about her childrens' safety, and the safety of their home during the controlled burn.
"We're going to come back and there's not going to be nothing here because all the buildings are kind of close together. The wind goes the wrong way and another building might start on fire. And then there's more people, lost homes..." said Miller.
Monday at a special council meeting, the mayor made a disaster declaration -- asking for emergency assistance after the blast.
"The City of Beaver Dam is asking Dodge County for assistance and request Dodge County to advise the State of Wisconsin of our emergency conditions," said John Somers, Beaver Dam Director of Administration.
The resolution was unanimously passed by the council.
Updated: 5:00 p.m. on March 12, 2018
BEAVER DAM, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A Dodge County judge has sealed search warrants related to last weeks' deadly explosion at a Beaver Dam apartment complex.
Judge Steven Bauer said he sealed the documents in case the person who died in the blast wasn't acting alone. Police have released little information about the man killed in the explosion.
Due to unstable chemicals still believed to be in the apartment, officials are planning to burn the building down in a controlled burn on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. On Monday, the City of Beaver Dam held a press conference to address questions and concerns for those living at Village Glen Apartments.
On Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m., officials will close down sections of Knaup Drive, Spring Street, and Industrial Drive to prepare for the controlled burn.
Officials say they will have shelters set up for those who will be evacuated. The buildings being evacuated are 103, 105, 109, 111, and 113. They are encouraging those people to take their valuable items and pets. Building 109 was the building that exploded on Monday killing an unidentified man. All pets were removed from building 109, but residents were not allowed to go back inside to gather any personal belongings.
"This is a difficult long agonizing decision and basically what it comes down to is life or property and it was a decision that we have to make because of the volatile materials in there and so it could even be set off by friction so it was so volatile that life is more important than property," said Beaver Dam Police Chief John Kreuzinger during Monday's press conference.
The evacuation will be lifted later in the evening on Wednesday.
An account for monetary donations has been opened to assist the residents that have been displaced from the Village Glen Apartments. The funds will be for Village Glen Apartments Building 109 residents ONLY. Donations can be made at any Dodge County Horicon Bank location. The name of the account is Dodge County COAD / Beaver Dam Apartments. Any non-monetary donations should go to St. Vincent DePaul or American National Bank. Please do not drop off any items at the Village Glen Apartments.
A bowling fundraiser is also being held for the people being displaced by the Beaver Dam Professional Firefighter Charities. The tournament will be at Tower Lanes on Saturday, March 17 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. It will cost $20 for two games and shoes.
There will also be raffles throughout the day.
Updated: 4:16 p.m. March 11, 2018
BEAVER DAM, Wis. (CBS 58) -- In a press conference Sunday afternoon the mayor of Beaver Dam, Rebecca Glewen, said that a controlled burn will be used to demolish Building 109 of the Village Glen Apartments on Wednesday morning.
Building 109 was the building that exploded on Monday killing an unidentified man.
Residents of the other Village Glen Apartments near Building 109 will need to evacuate by 9 a.m. Wednesday with the controlled burn scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Officials expect the burn to last until early evening.
Building 113 is very close to Building 109 so fire officials are creating a barrier to keep it safe.
Building 109 is being burned because there are "unknown chemicals" inside that could explode. During the burn nearby businesses are asked to evacuate or shelter in place keeping all windows and doors closed.
All pets were removed from building 109, but residents were not allowed to go back inside to gather any personal belongings.
Updated: 5:25 p.m. March 9, 2018
BEAVER DAM, Wis. (CBS 58) – Four days after a deadly explosion at a Beaver Dam apartment complex, aerial footage is giving us a new perspective of the damage.
Police say keeping the area safe is their first priority.
That’s why the area where the explosion happened is still blocked off and there are plans to demolish the entire building.
Police are maintaining a perimeter and a heavy presence all around the apartment complex. It’s still unclear who the man was that was killed in the explosion. It’s also unclear why he had homemade bombs inside the apartment.
CBS 58 asked Beaver Dam Police, the Dodge County Sheriff, and the FBI for updates on Friday, but no one had any new information to report.
People living at the apartment complex say rumors about how and why this happened are flying fast, but there are still more questions than answers.
“The not knowing who it was, the not knowing what they were doing, where they were going to use the bombs, you know and knowing why,” said neighbor Carissa Kraiehn.
Police said they aren’t sure when the next public update would happen and the timeline for demolishing the building is still unknown.
Updated 9:05 p.m. on March 8, 2018
BEAVER DAM, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Beaver Dam Police say there are still on-going concerns about remnant explosive materials that still may be inside the entire building.
Police have determined the building to be a complete loss due to investigative findings and structural concerns.
Immediate plans are being made for total removal of the building.
If you'd like to donate to help displaced families, monetary donations are being collected at any Horicon Bank with Dodge County. All donations can be made payable to Dodge County COAD/Beaver Dam Apartment. All of the funds will be used to assist the residents of building 109.
Updated: 4:25 p.m. on March 8, 2018
BEAVER DAM, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Everyone has returned home except the neighbors in the building where an explosion happened an apartment on Knaup Drive Monday afternoon.
Frantic 911 calls from Monday’s blast tell us more about how panicked people were.
More than 150 people were displaced following the blast.
On Thursday, officials met privately at St. Katherine Drexel parish with the people who live in that building and gave them an update.
The name of the 28-year-old man found dead in the apartment has still not been released because they are having a hard time identifying him. They tell us the person whose name is on the lease just moved there a few months ago.
Engineers and inspectors are still assessing the damage and residents are continuing to receive clothing and donations from the parish and other organizations until they are able to get back on their feet.
"My understanding is that there's a great push to help them move straight into apartments and then they can go straight into re-establishing their lives," said Father Michael Erwin with St. Katherine Drexel parish. "We know how to help people on a regular basis. We're real comfortable reaching out to each other if we need something, we just pick up the phone and call."
Inspectors will pass along the issues the building has to the property owner who will then determine what to do next.
Updated: 10:00 p.m. on March 7, 2018
Updated: 4:55 p.m. on March 7, 2018
BEAVER DAM, Wis. (CBS 58) – Beaver Dam officials say they have neutralized the threat of explosive materials found inside an apartment with a controlled explosion after a man is found dead inside three days ago.
According to investigators, the controlled explosion caused less damage to the building than they anticipated. Police say they removed all the important evidence from the apartment and removed the 28-year-old man's body Tuesday night before the detonation.
Several different fire crews were on hand and sprayed down the building when a fire started in the attic. Police say the detonation was the safest way to remove the dangerous explosive materials found inside.
Officials have not released much information about the man found dead inside the apartment as it is still an ongoing investigation.
“The subject in the residence has not been properly identified. So at the time we have a proper ID we can speak more to that but right now, until we have that, we’re going to withhold any information concerning him,” said Milwaukee FBI Special Agent Justin Tolomeo.
Residents who were evacuated will meet with police Wednesday night to discuss when they will be able to get back into their homes. Police say some residents may be able to go back Wednesday night or Thursday.
Updated: 1:15 p.m. on March 7, 2018
Explosive experts detonate highly-volatile explosives inside Beaver Dam apartment. CBS 58 had multiple crews at the scene to cover the detonation:
Wednesday’s planned explosion added to the anxiety residents of the apartment complex have lived with for days.
Many of the residents told CBS 58 they are still upset and shocked over the entire incident.
For some like Alex Steen, the last few days have been filled with confusion. Steen had to leave her home after the explosion Monday.
“You hear about nightclub shootings, you hear about all this stuff and you think, ‘oh ya know, that’ll never happen to me.’ I am just speechless,” Steen said.
Others just want to get back to normal life.
“Never had to experience anything like this. This just like, ‘why Beaver Dam?’ But it can happen anywhere,” said Diane Carr who lives at the apartment complex.
Many residents had to leave their belongings behind. They say the Red Cross has been very supportive of them and offering any help they’ve needed the last few days.Wednesday’s detonation added to the anxiety residents of the apartment complex have lived with for days.
Updated: 10:25 a.m. on March 7, 2018
BEAVER DAM, Wis. (CBS 58) – Beaver Dam police will detonate the apartment where dangerous chemicals caused a deadly explosion on Monday.
A man was killed after an explosion went off in the apartment on Knaup Drive and North Spring Street Monday afternoon.
In a press conference Wednesday, Beaver Dam Police Chief John Kreuziger said the apartment is filled with highly volatile homemade explosives. In order to safely remove them, a team of experts will do a controlled explosion inside the apartment. The explosion is being planned for 1:00 p.m. Wednesday inside the apartment.
Nearby residents haven't been allowed back into their homes since Monday and are worried about the detonation.
"We were told by the Sheriff that our buildings likely not be affected. I don't really believe that about my building cause it comes to an L with this building. My front door is 40 yards from his, so I don't really believe mine is going to be okay," said neighbor Alex Steen.
Not much is known about the man who died inside the apartment and police say the investigation is still very active. Another press conference is being planned for 4:00 p.m.
This is a developing story. Stay with CBS 58 on air and online for the latest updates.
Updated: 5:00 p.m. on March 6, 2018
BEAVER DAM, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The scene of a deadly explosion at a Beaver Dam apartment complex is still active as officials work to safely get inside.
On Tuesday, frustration came from evacuated neighbors who still haven't been allowed to go home.
Investigators closed off a section of Mills Flee Farm in Beaver Dam and set up post as they carefully figure out how to remove chemicals and bomb-making materials from an apartment across the street.
Police say an explosion on Monday afternoon left one man dead and his body is still inside the apartment.
"There is an explosive chemical inside the apartment, and that's what the concern is right now," Beaver Dam Police Chief John Kreuziger said in a press conference Tuesday morning.
The FBI, ATF, and other agencies are working on a plan to carefully get to the man's body. The Madison bomb squad is using a robot to get other chemicals out of the man's apartment and garage.
"That's one of the things logically that we have to plan for is to figure out how we're going to get in there because we need to keep all of us that go in there safe because of this unstable and sensitive chemical," Chief Kreuziger said.
Dozens of residents left without any of their belongings, pets or medication. Several families were able to come home Tuesday but others are still waiting for that call.
"I've just been worried about my cats. I didn't take them because I thought they would let us back," said a resident, Marlene Olson.
"I couldn't get into my apartment to get my inhaler so I ended up going to urgent care last night. I also sleep with a sleep machine and I couldn't get that too, so last night my sleep was not very good," said another resident, Dave Austin.
The man found inside the apartment has not yet been identified. Investigators are hoping to clear the scene by the end of the night.
Updated: 11:15 a.m. on March 6, 2018
BEAVER DAM, Wis. (CBS 58) – Authorities were clear that a deadly explosion at a Beaver Dam apartment complex on Monday was not caused by a meth lab.
In a press conference Tuesday, Beaver Dam Police Chief John Kreuziger said several law enforcement agencies including the FBI and ATF are still investigating after different chemicals and bomb-making materials were found inside the apartment located at 109 Knaup Drive. Police say the body of a deceased man is still in the apartment until they can figure out how to safely get inside.
Officials evacuated dozens of apartments and other homes Monday night as a precaution, some leaving with nothing except the clothes they were wearing. While some have been allowed to go home, police are still unsure when everyone will be able to return.
“We had a meeting last night and we had another meeting this morning at 8:30 to decide how we’re going to proceed from here. We’re working on a plan right now to figure out how we’re going to attack this apartment,” Chief Kreuziger said.
The Red Cross is calling on caseworkers to come out and help until 7:00 p.m. Tuesday evening.
Posted: 7:32 p.m. on March 5, 2018
DODGE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- One person is dead following an explosion at a Beaver Dam apartment complex, sheriff's officials say.
Law enforcement was called to the apartment complex located at 109 Knaup Drive on Monday afternoon.
The Sheriff's Office says that there still may be materials present that require the evacuation of several apartment buildings in the vicinity of the original explosion.
As a result, apartments in the immediate vicinity are being evacuated. These include:
- 103, 105, 107, 109, 111, 113, and 123 Knaup Drive
- 212, 222, and 224 E Industrial Drive
- Those who live in those residences can report to the Watermark at 209 S Center Street until permanent shelter arrangements can be made.
More information is expected shortly.
Stay with CBS 58 News for more information on this developing story.