Fire cause undetermined in fatal Calumet County explosion - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Fire cause undetermined in fatal Calumet County explosion

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KIEL (WKOW) – Investigators have classified the cause of a fire at a manufacturing plant that killed a firefighter as undetermined.

The fire broke out December 29 in a trash container at Bremer Manufacturing Company in St. Anna.

State fire officials say there's no evidence indicating it was intentional. Local authorities had said previously the fire appeared accidental.

Investigators say the explosion was caused when water and fire suppressant foam reacted with chemicals in the trash container.

33-year-old Steven Koeser of Kiel was killed. Eight others were hurt.


ST. ANNA, Wis. (WKOW) -- Authorities in Calumet County have identified the cause of an explosion at a manufacturing building in the eastern Wisconsin town of St. Anna.

A patrol deputy reported a fire at Bremer Manufacturing around 7:20 p.m. Tuesday night.

Fire crews responded and were working to put out the fire in a dumpster and a large drum when the explosion occurred.

Investigators believe metal byproducts in waste bins -- aluminum chips and impurities from furnaces -- reacted to the water being used by the firefighters and sparked the explosion.

One firefighter was killed, 33-year-old Steven Koeser of Kiel. Eight others were hurt, including 28-year-old Brad Woelfel, who remains hospitalized in fair condition.

Company president Tom Dolack spoke with WBAY Wednesday afternoon: "We're just devastated, because the firefighter that was killed, two of his brothers work here and other relatives work here. The fire department people, everybody is related here, so our thoughts and concerns and sympathies are with the man that was killed and his family. It's just tragic for us."


ST. ANNA, Wis. (WKOW) -- One firefighter was killed and nine others hurt in an explosion at a manufacturing plant in the eastern Wisconsin town of St. Anna.

Calumet County authorities were on the scene overnight after the accident, which happened at Bremer Manufacturing around 7:20 p.m.

Firefighters were called to a report of a fire in a dumpster next to the building. While trying to put the fire out, the explosion happened.

A 33-year-old St. Anna firefighter died on scene. Nine firefighters were injured. Six of them have been treated and released; one is hospitalized in critical condition.

The State Fire Marshall and ATF are investigating what caused the explosion. Officials say there was a 55-gallon drum next to the dumpster that was on fire but they do not know what was in it.

Because chemicals may be involved, the Calumet County Sheriff's Department says clean-up will wait until Wednesday.

According to the company's web site, Bremer Manufacturing makes aluminum sand castings for supply to diesel and internal combustion engine manufacturers and metalworking companies.


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