Explosion, house fire near West Bend leaves 2 people severely burned

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Updated: 07/26.2021 12:45 PM 

BARTON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Authorities released an update to a home explosion in Barton on Friday, July 23. 

The Washington County Sheriff's Office said Monday, July 26, both victims remain in stable but critical condition at a local burn unit. 

Officials say the homeowner's son was visiting from California and his father resides at the Norman Drive house alone.

Evidence suggests that the explosion was natural gas-related, and is not being considered a criminal matter.


Updated: 07/24/2021 09:06 AM

BARTON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Washington County Sheriff's Office is investigating an explosion and house fire that happened in Barton near West Bend on Friday, July 23. 

Officials were notified of the incident at a single family residence near Norman and Jeanellen around 8:18 p.m. Friday night.

"At approximately 8:21 p.m. last night we got dispatched for the report of an explosion. Flames were visible and injuries. First unit was on scene within five minutes and came to a fully involved house," said Batallion Chief Jeff Gustafson from the West Bend Fire Department.

Officials say there were two occupants at the home during the explosion. Both received severe burns. They were taken by ambulance to a local hospital and then med flighted to a regional burn unit. 

A family member on scene told CBS 58 that the victims remain in critical condition. 

Gustafson said neighbors nearby played a role in making sure the people in the home made it out as safe as possible.

"Hats off to the neighbors, they assisted in evacuating the victims of the actual fire building and they did a great job," said Gustafson.

The neighbor next door to the damaged home didn't want to go on camera, but told CBS 58 he went outside as soon as he heard the explosion, thinking it was lightning. He then said he saw the fire and noticed one of the occupants of the home was out but but the other wasn't. That's when he said he went in the blazing home and got the last occupant out. He said his neighbor inhaled a lot of smoke and had severe third degree burns. 

The residence sustained severe damage due to the fire, smoke and water. Officials say the home and its contents are a total loss. Preliminary damage estimates were believed to exceed $300,000. 

Traffic to the area was shut down for nearly four hours, officials say. Neighboring residences were also temporarily evacuated. Minor damage occurred to a neighboring home.

A witness on scene last night to CBS 58 what he saw.

"I was listening to the police scanner and I heard a call go out for a house fire up the road from me. I stepped out of my house and saw really thick dark smoke and during the transmission actually heard ammunition going off in the background of the transmission," said Erik Herron. "I was literally behind the house close enough that I felt the heat and had ashes actually cover me at one point."

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Deputies with the Washington County Sheriff's Office and West Bend Fire Department officials reported to the scene. Several surrounding agencies assisted with the call. 


Published: 07/23/2021 09:53 PM

WEST BEND, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Firefighters are battling a massive house fire in West Bend Friday night, July 23.

Multiple fire departments are responding to Norman Drive in the town of Barton.

A fire official on scene tells us this is currently considered a three-alarm fire. 

Due to a lack of fire hydrants in the neighborhood, crews are sending in tankers of water to help fight the blaze.

This is a developing story. CBS 58 has a crew on scene working to gather more details.

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