(Beaver Dam) Village Glen apartment building 109 in Beaver Dam will be burned to the ground Thursday, ten days after highly volatile chemicals were found in the rubble of a fatal explosion. Benjamin Morrow was identified Wednesday as the victim of the blast. Chief John Kreuziger told reporters that the 28-year-old was identified by his DNA. The identification had been delayed due to the condition of the subjects remains, which he says would not allow the traditional methods of identification such as fingerprints and dental records.
The March 5th blast led to the evacuation of 17 neighboring apartment buildings for two days. A detonation of the homemade explosives last Wednesday was not enough to mitigate the danger. An unexpected explosion was reported the following afternoon. That third blast led authorities to prohibit access to the building by anyone until it could be safety destroyed in a controlled burn, which is planned for Thursday morning at 10am.
Residents will once again be evacuated. Streets will be closed to traffic; specifically North Spring Street, Industrial Drive and Knaup Drive. Many surrounding businesses are voluntarily closing.
Fire Chief Alan Mannel the blaze will be allowed to burn freely because the “thermal uplift” will carry the smoke up over the buildings and above the city. Large metal cargo shipping crates have been situated to shield neighboring buildings.
Residents in neighboring buildings we spoke with Wednesday evening said they were relieved that they were given one extra day to prepare for the evacuation and to process everything that is going on. The controlled burn had been planned for Wednesday but was delayed because of high winds.
We asked Chief Mannel says if residents will be able to search the rubble for belongings that may survive today’s controlled burn, like fire-proof safes. Mannel says that is a decision for the property owner as the scene will be turned over to the owner after it is cleared.
Kreuziger on Wednesday did refute widespread media reports identifying the substance that was involved saying that it would not be confirmed due to the nature of the ongoing investigation bound by a sealed state search warrant.
The FBI has set up a 24-hour hotline for anyone who may have information concerning the investigation at 800-CALL-FBI or 800-225-5324.
Funeral services for Morrow are being held Thursday evening in Madison and he will be laid to rest Friday in Appleton.