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Lawsuits filed against companies involved in construction work during Sun Prairie explosion

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SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Several companies involved in the construction work that led to the July 10 Sun Prairie explosion are being sued.

The wife of fallen Fire Captain Cory Barr and two firefighters injured in the blast all filed lawsuits Thursday against the companies USIC, VC Tech, Bear Communications, and WEC Energy Group/WE Energies.

The investigation reveals Bear Communications was contracted by Verizon to put in fiber optics underground.

Bear contracted the work to Jet Underground and then reports say VC Tech ultimately struck the gas line.

Every company and person that digs in the state is required by law to call Diggers Hotline to come mark where the utility lines are before any digging occurs.

Documents show Jet Underground called Diggers Hotline, but when they pulled off the job, the marking by USIC was stopped and never finished.

When VC Tech picked up the project investigators say VC Tech was told by Bear Communications the digging ticket was "still good."

Step Representative Gary Hebl said this miscommunication was “horrendous”.

He said he believes this tragedy was avoidable and is now looking into drafting legislation that could require a 2-check system before digging.

“We need to have competent people doing the right job and doing it in a professional manner to make sure this never happens again,” Representative Hebl said.

He said new legislation could take time, but he is already in talks with WE Energies to come up with the best solution.

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