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Six injured in five-alarm fire at Summerset Marine Construction in Eagle, Wis.

The fire department said multiple explosions happened inside
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Posted at 8:19 AM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-20 16:19:07-04

EAGLE, Wis. — Six people were injured, including three firefighters, after a series of explosions set off a massive fire at a marine construction company in Eagle in Waukesha County Thursday morning.

It happened around 7:45 a.m. at the Summerset Marine Construction in the small community of Eagle, about 35 miles southwest of Milwaukee.

Watch drone video of the fire:

Drone video of massive Waukesha Co. industrial fire

The company's website says it makes piers and docks, with a 24,000-square-foot facility in Eagle that includes a showroom, office, factory and warehouse.

During a press conference, officials said a total of six people were injured: three civilians and three firefighters.

One civilian was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, one firefighter had minor injuries and was taken to the hospital, and the remaining injured people were treated on scene.

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Five-alarm fire at Summerset Marine Company

Police were there within two minutes from the first call, and fire officials were there within three minutes.

The 24 workers who were inside the building when the explosions began were able to make it out.

"Right now, I'm thankful to God that everybody's alive," said Larry Chapman, owner of Summerset Marine Construction. "We just did safety training. We're all over safety. We're not sure what happened. We're going to get to the bottom of it, and we're going to rectify what the situation is and move forward."

Chapman went on to say one of their employees managed to drag two others out of the building.

Officials immediately began evacuating employees from the area of the business. Employees gathered at a business south of the fire and out of harm's way. Two employees were transported to local hospitals. Officials say their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

A portion of the building collapsed prior to first responders arriving on the scene. Because of the collapse, firefighters can not get to the source of the fire, therefore it is still burning.

The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms is investigating the explosion. Western Lakes Fire Assistant Chief Matt Haerter, who is also with the Southeast Wisconsin Incident Management Team, said nothing appears suspicious.

The Waukesha County Sheriff's Office issued a shelter in place for a one-mile radius around the building. There's no danger to the community, but residents nearby should stay inside due to smoke.

What happened inside the building is still under investigation, and all water has been brought in by water tenders due to the lack of fire hydrants in the area.

One explosion was reported shortly after the first call, and multiple other explosions followed.

About 275 students at Eagle Elementary School, about a quarter-mile from Summerset Marine, were evacuated.

A school official said staff felt shaking around 7:50 a.m. The building seemed to shake for a few seconds and staff wondered what was going on.

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Fire at Summerset Marine Construction

According to the school official, they could see smoke from the school but no one there was hurt, and there were no students in the school at the time.

A worker at Matt's Auto repair reported hearing a loud explosion and then seeing huge flames like in the movies. She said many roads are blocked off and there's a lot of smoke in the air.

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Fire at Summerset Marine Construction
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Fire at Summerset Marine Construction

Curt Dowdle of Dowdle Drywall is down the block from the business. He said he heard an explosion as well, and then saw fire and white smoke.

He said it sounded like a bomb had gone off, but his business is not being evacuated. He said Summerset would usually have people working at this time of the morning and is concerned people are hurt.

"We have friends down there," he said.

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