1 dead after house explosion in Burlington

1 dead after home explosion in Burlington
Posted at 10:14 AM, May 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-16 07:55:26-04

BURLINGTON -- One person died after a house exploded in Burlington Saturday afternoon.

Firefighters were dispatched around 3:15 p.m. Saturday after a report of smoke and flames coming from a home on Ketterhagen Road. By the time help arrived, the surrounding field was engulfed in flames.

"I've been with the sheriffs office for 21 years and this is the first leveled home that I've seen explode. It is unusual," said Racine County Sheriff  Chris Schmaling.

On Sunday, investigators could be been slowly moving charred debris piece by piece, trying to figure out what caused the explosion.
"It's a mess to say the least. It's going to take several days to go through this," Schmaling said.
The sheriff said more than one person lived at the house. Officials said they do not if know if they were home at the time.
"At this hour and through the night we have been methodically going through the debris looking for other victims and signs and evidence of cause and origin," Schmaling said. 
Neighbors in the rural area -- more than 100 yards away -- felt the blast and evacuated for safety. 
John Shirk said he wasn't home at the time but was on the phone with his wife when it happened. 
"She was on the phone and she just heard like a big boom," he said.
He said his wife dropped the phone and ran to check things out.
"She had checked on the kids and said the whole house had shook, so I told her to check outside and she saw the house was already completely engulfed," he said.