Officials have been working for the last two days to remove hazardous materials that were left in the 109 Knaup Drive apartment following a fatal explosion Monday. Today they announced there is no way to get them out of the building without detonating them.
Beaver Dam Police Chief John Kreuziger conducted a press conference Wednesday morning with FBI special agent in charge Justin Tolomeo and Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt.
A blast blew out the windows in unit 11 at 109 Knaup Drive around 1 p.m. Monday and led to evacuation of the building in the Village Glen apartments. The evacuation of additional apartments was announced around 7 p.m.
Kreuziger identified the man fatally killed in the apartment as the occupant. He has been described as someone who moved to the area a couple of months ago to rent the apartment. Explosive items were found in the garage he was renting as well as the apartment.
“They are highly volatile homemade bombs that can’t be removed,” Kreuziger said.
Removal of the bombs has made the process very slow.
Beaver Dam Police are working with the FBI. Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation, the Dane County Bomb Squad and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms have been at the scene.
“The detonation could cause additional damage to the apartment building,” Kreuziger said.
Nicole Barlow and her 9-month daughter Evelyn live in one of the buildings across the courtyard.
“We managed to get out but my son passed away in 2016 and his ashes are still in that apartment,” Barlow said.
At the time of the explosion, Barlow said she heard the loud noise and was able to comfort Evelyn as she saw the damage in the courtyard with the blinds hanging out the window and emergency personnel running to the scene.
“We were at Walmart at around 6 p.m. and were told we’d have to evacuate the apartment as well,” Barlow said. “Thankfully we were able to get out, but my son’s ashes are still in there.”
Residents of the apartment buildings are invited to a town hall meeting at St. Katharine Drexel in Beaver Dam at 11:30 a.m. today.
A second press conference will be held at 4 p.m. to update the public after the detonation.