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UPDATE: Victims identified in Chippewa County home explosion

Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 11:42 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 6, 2020 at 9:45 PM CDT
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CHIPPEWA COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) - Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk says 66-year-old Dale Lambert and 68-year-old Belinda Wedemeyer were killed in the home explosion.

Lambert, who owned the home and friend, Wedemeyer were in the home at the time of the blast. The cause for the explosion is still under investigation

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CHIPPEWA COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) - One man is dead and another person is severely hurt after a home explosion Monday morning in the town of Wheaton.

Just after 11 o’clock Monday morning, crews were dispatched to a home at the end of 10th Avenue in the Town of Wheaton for was reported as a large explosion. When crews arrived on scene, they found a home destroyed with two victims inside.

The home was right on the border between Chippewa County and Eau Claire County. According to Chippewa County Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk, the two victims were inside the home at the time of the explosion. One man in his 60′s is dead and a female was taken to a local hospital for injuries. There’s no word yet on that person’s condition. Sheriff Kowalczyk says right now, it’s unknown what caused the explosion.

“The entire house was destroyed. The foundation walls are destroyed,” he says. “Very very extreme blast as to what happened here”

Sheriff Kowalczyk described what crews faced when they arrived.

“It appears at this point that the house itself exploded for unknown reasons. I was at the scene; I did not see anything that looked to be at one time on fire.”

Kowalczyk says a propane tank linked to the home is a potential cause of the blast.

“The tank is intact, it is to the northeast of the house,” he says. “At this point, the only house, other than the one that exploded, to the east, was the only one that suffered any damage.”

The home sits close to the border between Chippewa and Eau Claire County, which made the decision of who would lead the investigation tricky.

“Initially the call came in and Eau Claire Police Department along with Eau Claire County responded. Once they arrived on scene they determined that it is indeed Chippewa County and notified us and we responded with all of our investigators to assist all personal that are involved.”

Now, he says it is up to Chippewa County to figure exactly what happened.

“We do have agents on scene from the states that are very very qualified in these types of situations,” Kowalczyk says. “It may be a very lengthy investigation as to what happened and why it happened.”

To put in perspective just how powerful the blast was, Kowalczyk says a sofa was tossed about 25 feet in the air and is stuck in a tree. The names and relationships of the two victims have not been released at this time and the status of the injured victim is unknown. We’ll bring you more information as it become available.

Law enforcement have confirmed one person in his or her 60′s died and one person suffered critical injuries after a house exploded in Chippewa County.

The home, including the foundation, was destroyed in the incident.

The cause is believed to be a gas explosion. A home to the east sustained minor damage.

No names have been released yet.

Local and state crews will be investigating the explosion.

The aftermath of the house explosion in Chippewa County.
The aftermath of the house explosion in Chippewa County.(WEAU)
The aftermath of the house explosion in Chippewa County.
The aftermath of the house explosion in Chippewa County.(WEAU)

Eau Claire Police have confirmed a house exploded in Chippewa County. Chippewa Fire crews are also on scene.

Several crews are responding to an incident on Eau Claire’s west side.

Our photographer on scene says traffic is blocked off on CTY F near Jeffers Road and County Line Road.

There’s no word yet on what the incident is, but several WEAU viewers told us they heard what sounded like an explosion around 11:15 this morning. Eau Claire Police and Fire and Rescue are at the scene.

Police told our photographer that a helicopter is on its way to the scene of the incident.

Stay with WEAU for the latest on this developing story.

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