20 fire departments work to burn down Beaver Dam apartment

All the residents were safely evacuated.
Posted at 12:10 PM, Mar 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-15 18:25:14-04

First responders in Beaver Dam said today's controlled burn of the apartment building where an explosion killed a man last week was a success. 

Authorities allege 28-year old Benjamin Morrow, who was killed in the blast, was building homemade explosives in one of the units inside the building at 109 Knaup Drive. 

Police and fire officials said the volatile chemicals that remained required the building be burned to the ground. 

They began a controlled burn of the structure shortly after 10 a.m. 

"The FBI bomb squad and chemist confirmed no explosive material remains on-site," said Amy Luebke, an information officer for Thursday's burn operation. "The burn produced extreme heat, which led to the destruction of the thermal material as planned." 

Luebke said it was still too early to know if any of the neighboring buildings were damaged by the flames. Large, metal shipping containers were placed around apartment building 109 to contain the flames and heat. 

According to city officials, about half of the 30 tenants of building 109 had renter's insurance. 

St. Vincent de Paul of Dodge County has offered to help the displaced tenants find and furnish new apartments. 

Monetary donations for the residents of building 109 are also being collected through Horicon Bank of Dodge County. 

On Wednesday night, bomb techs from the FBI did a preliminary sweep of the building. 

"During that sweep, those bomb techs could also grab some important property while they were in the various apartments. That included items such as important papers, jewelry, money, and other family heirlooms," the Mayor of Beaver Dam said in a news release. 

The tenants were never allowed to re-enter themselves and retrieve any other belongings before Thursday's controlled burn. 

A pair of streets shut down ahead of the fire re-opened shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon. 

Knaup Drive remains closed and the five other buildings in the apartment complex remain evacuated. 

Luebke said officials are waiting for EPA testing of the air in the vicinity of the apartment complex to be completed before the evacuated residents are given the all-clear to return home.