Snowplow displaces eight after fire and explosion at Waupaca apartments

Fire and explosion displace eight individuals
Fire and explosion displace eight individuals(WBAY)
Published: Dec. 11, 2021 at 1:00 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 11, 2021 at 6:02 PM CST
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WAUPACA, Wis. (WBAY) - Eight people escaped an apartment building fire this morning in Waupaca, without injury.

Crews responded to a report of a gas leak at the Countryside Estates apartments on 517 Wisconsin St at 9:02 a.m. The apartment building is for the elderly and people with disabilities.

The Waupaca Area Fire District says it was a natural gas explosion in a utility room of the apartment building. Officials say a snow plow hit a gas meter.

Crews respond to an explosion at a Waupaca apartment. Dec. 11, 2021
Crews respond to an explosion at a Waupaca apartment. Dec. 11, 2021(WBAY)

All eight residents escaped without harm.

“There was somebody on scene, a private citizen that was helping evacuation and got them out. So between local law enforcement and a private citizen nearby, they got them out before the explosion,” said Captain Steve Fenske, Waupaca Area Fire District.

The American Red Cross is helping those displaced by providing meals and refreshments. The health services teams are also ' assessing immediate health needs such as temporary/replacement ambulatory resources and prescription refills. Our teams are providing mental health resources to those who need it.’

“They’re working with the local pharmacies to get any medications that the residents need. And eventually, probably later this afternoon, working with local law enforcement that will be letting them go back in to get some of their personal belongings out, but they’ll not be able to go back in the apartment at this time,” said Capt. Fenske.

The building will be unlivable for the time being, but one adult day care center right across the street has opened its doors to the displaced residents.

“CaHoots opened their doors, they’re an adult services facility. So they opened their doors up to at least get the residents in there and put them in there until we can start finding them, where they can start finding them temporary housing,” said Capt. Fenske.

Waupaca Police and Fire Departments had assistance from 13 other first responders in the area, including WE Energies, who shut the line off to prevent more explosions.

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