BEAVER DAM, Wis. - Fifteen families will be displaced from their homes and lose all of their belongings following a controlled burn of an apartment building where an explosion killed one person on March 5, according to Beaver Dam officials at a news conference Monday.
Beaver Dam officials, with the help of the FBI, will be destroying the apartment building at 109 Knaup Drive Wednesday. Officials said the building has to be taken down because volatile chemicals have become embedded in the walls.
Beaver Dam Fire Chief Allen Manned said federal agents have recommended that officials let the fire burn as hot and as long as possible. There will be no attempts to put out the fire in the apartment building, only to contain the fire to the designated area, according to Manned.
"This is very atypical," Manned said about having to burn down an entire building. "This is new ground for all of us. We're consulting with a lot of experts. Unfortunately, I should say fortunately, there has only been one other incident like this in the country."
The decision to destroy the building, and all of the belongings of the 15 families who have been displaced from their homes since the explosion, was not made lightly, according to Beaver Dam Police Chief John Kreuziger.
"Basically what it came down to was life or property," Kreuzigner said. "Life is so much more important than property."
Beaver Dam police have released few details about the man found dead inside the apartment after the initial explosion, and no motive has been released. Kreuziger said "There is no known link to terrorism at this time, but we're still investigating."
He added that while the investigation is ongoing, there is not believed to be any danger to the public at this time. The incident is believed to be singular in nature.
News 3 learned Monday that search warrants related to the investigation have been sealed by a Dodge County judge "for the protection of the investigation so as not to alert potential co-actors of the ongoing investigation and its findings."
Officials also have not explained what type of chemicals or explosives were in the complex that caused them to initially hold a controlled detonation.
There will be temporary flight restrictions up to 2.5 miles from the building Wednesday while officials burn down the building. There will also be road closures starting at 9 a.m. on Knaup Drive, Industrial Avenue between Spring Street and Highway 151, and Spring Street between Industrial Avenue and Woodman Road.
Five additional apartment buildings -- 16 units each -- will be evacuated Wednesday. Officials asked that they take all of their pets, valuables and paperwork with them during the evacuation.
Officials are collecting donations for the families displaced from 109 Knaup Drive. So far $4,444 has been raised.
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