NEW INFORMATION: Owner of house that exploded plans to rebuild

Published: Dec. 20, 2016 at 12:14 PM CST
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Patti Quirk was about two months away from moving into a new three-story home set on family land along Long Lake in northern Chippewa County. The house was to replace one which had been on land owned by her mother for roughly 60 years.

"It was magnificent. It was a work of art," she said to WEAU 13 News on Tuesday.

Quirk had gone as far as to hang a Christmas wreath on its front door.

However, just after 9 p.m. Monday night, Quirk felt a blast from her trailer home across highway 40 from her new home.

"100 sonic booms,” she said. “The window and Venetian blinds just blew into the living room, breaking every piece of glass and pictures and everything.

“Not bad damage. I mean, there's glass and there's windows to be replaced, but really not bad damage at all."

It wasn't until Tuesday that Quirk realized the depths of the damage. The blast had obliterated her new home which she was to share during the summer months with her sister and brother-in-law, who live in Dallas, Texas.

"It's devastatingly surreal,” she said. “I don't know."

New Auburn fire chief Thomas Bischel told WEAU 13 News on Tuesday the cause of the blast hasn't been officially nailed down. However, he said Monday was the first day construction crews turned on the gas for furnaces that were installed.

The neighborhood where the blast occurred sits along Long Lake, where many homes are only used during the warmer months on the calendar. Donald Granger lives in one of the few homes in the neighborhood which is occupied year-round and said he and his wife felt the power of the blast.

"It sounded like 15 tons of TNT going off," Granger said to WEAU 13 News on Tuesday. "First thing I saw was our big octagon window is out. The sheetrock is peeled off the wall. I went down the steps and it had moved the hand railing on the steps. I went into the garage. Sheetrock was knocked off. The window was blown out. The back door wouldn't not latch, so I had to wire that back together."

With so much damage to the homes surrounding the blast, Quirk sees the future for this neighborhood.

"I picture a lot of big dumpsters all up and down here," she said.

Late Tuesday morning, Quirk did find one item that was on the house – the Christmas wreath, which will have a new home on a neighbor’s wall while she rebuilds – once again – on her family land.

"I sure hope that it works out that way,” she said.

CHIPPEWA COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) -- Crews are back on scene of a home explosion that happened in Chippewa County.

The explosion happened Monday night at 28139 State Highway 40 in the Town of Sampson, near New Auburn.

Crews tell WEAU 13 News that the 3-story home was under construction, and they had just finished installing furnaces earlier in the day.

In addition to destroying the home, at least six other homes were impacted by flying debris from the explosion; however, no one was injured.

The Red Cross is currently helping owners of nearby damaged houses, which were located within an estimated half-mile radius of the explosion.