Crews contain fire from an explosion in La Crosse

1 person injured in explosion
Crews contain fire from an explosion in La Crosse

The cause of an early Wednesday morning explosion at Midwest Fuels near Copeland Park in La Crosse is under investigation.

The explosion happened just before 7 a.m. La Crosse residents around the area told News 8 it shook their homes. Emergency crews contained the fire at about 8:30 a.m. and a shelter in place order that had been issued was canceled.

Tri-State Ambulance said one person was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. La Crosse firefighters told News 8 the man, who has not been identified, was later released.

At a late-morning news conference, Midwest Fuels said eight people were working at the time of the explosion. Three of the seven tanks on the ground were empty. The one tank that exploded was a 132,000 gallon tank, but it only had 7,000 gallons of asphalt that is stored at 200-degrees to keep it liquid, Midwest Fuels told News 8.

The roof blew off of the tank and landed on the northside of Midwest Fuels’ grounds. The company has a crew that is taking care of the cleanup from the explosion.

La Crosse Fire Chief Gregg Cleveland said crews were able to stop the runoff of chemicals and contain it to one tank. He said the tank had a mixture of 70-percent asphalt and 30-percent diesel.

Midwest Fuels said an environmental specialist that they work with said except for the possibility of runoff of water used to put out the fire, there is no cause for concern about long-term environmental impact. People may have a slight headache or sore throat because of the fumes, but nothing long-lasting.

In an email to parents in the School District of La Crosse, Superintendent Randy Nelson said district administrators were “working diligently to monitor and address potential safety issues for our staff and students” after the explosion was reported. School will go on as scheduled and children are safe.

“As a continued precaution, however, we will be limiting outdoor activity today at Northside Elementary, Summit Elementary, and Logan Middle School,” Nelson wrote.