Law enforcement is still gathering information about an explosion that left one man dead in a Beaver Dam apartment Monday afternoon.
“The explosion had an unknown chemical origin,” Beaver Dam Police Chief John Kreuziger said.
The blast blew out the windows in Apt. 11 at 109 Knaup Drive around 1 p.m. and led to evacuations of the four buildings in the Village Glen apartments. Residents were able to return to get pets out of the buildings, but were not allowed to stay in their apartments.
Officials from the Department of Corrections, the Dane County Bomb Squad and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were on the scene on Monday night and determined that the evacuation area would need to expand because the chemicals in the apartment could be explosive, Kreuziger said.
The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office announced around 7 p.m. that residents needed to vacate apartments in buildings at 103, 105, 107, 109, 111, 113 and 123 Knaup Drive as well as 212, 222 and 224 E. Industrial Drive.
Four buses were used to evacuate residents who did not leave in their own vehicles.
Kreuzinger said some affected residents would be able to return sometime Tuesday, though the “people in the original building will be out for at least days.”
No businesses were closed because of the evacuation, Kreuziger said. The apartments are just inside of Highway 151, near Mills Fleet Farm, ALDI and Taco Bell.
The identity of the man who died in the apartment had not been determined as of late Monday evening, Kreuziger said. Firefighters found the man’s body was found in the kitchen area of the apartment, but investigators had yet to go back inside late Monday to make an identification.
“We haven’t been able to get in the building to determine if the man who died was the man who lived there,” Kreuziger said.
Residents were told to go to The Watermark, 209 S. Center St., where members of the Red Cross were on hand to assist them.
Brian French, the Red Cross disaster response team leader for Dodge County, said the apartment where the explosion occurred was occupied by a lone resident. He said the residents in the 109 building of the Village Glen apartments were the first to arrive at The Watermark, with 16 apartment units being displaced.
Some of the evacuees have found shelter with friends and family.
“They are welcome to check in,” French said. “In case their situation changes or the situation takes longer than they thought it would and they no longer have shelter.”
Those wanting to help the Red Cross can donate on the Red Cross website, redcross.org.
Beaver Dam Police, Fire and EMS and the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office responded. The Wisconsin State Fire Marshal and a HAZMAT team were called to the scene. The Dodge County Medical Examiner’s Office also responded.