(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam apartment building, where a fatal explosion last Monday led to the discovery of volatile homemade chemicals, will be removed by controlled burn on Wednesday. Mayor Becky Glewen made that announcement Sunday about the fate of the Village Glen apartment building at 109 Knaup Drive. Glewen says it was determined that the safest way to mitigate the risk from the chemicals inside is through “thermal destruction.” She says the heat generated by the fire will render the area permanently safe.
Residents will not be allowed back inside to collect their belongings. Police Chief John Kreuziger told WBEV-WXRO on Friday that there was a “small particle explosion” early Thursday afternoon and there are concerns about remnant explosives.
Per the FBI, two perimeters will be established. One will be a mandatory evacuation zone targeting the Village Glen apartment complex. The outer perimeter, where people should either evacuate or shelter-in-place, is bordered by North Spring Street, Industrial Drive and Knaup Drive – which will all be closed to traffic – and Highway 151, which will remain open.
Businesses in that area can choose to stay open if they wish but their customers will have to walk to their business. Residents in Prairie Ridge Assisted Living and the Keystone Manor Senior Apartments are being asked to shelter-in-place, and will be shifted internally within their buildings.
Precautions, including a protective barrier, will be taken to specifically protect building 113, which is the closest to building 109. The structure will be intentionally ignited on Wednesday around 10am by multiple agencies under the unified command of the Beaver Dam Fire and Police departments. The goal is to complete the burn and allow activity in the area to resume by evening.
Airspace over Beaver Dam will again be restricted on Wednesday, up to 5000-feet by two miles. The restriction is for multiple reasons, including the chemicals that may be emitted from the site and because of the use of drones by authorities to oversee the situation. Air quality monitors will also be used in the area to ensure public safety.
Meanwhile, we learned over the weekend that there were explosives found in a multi-unit garage that is part of the Village Glen complex; those explosives were detonated in a quarry near the city limits on Thursday morning.
Authorities have not yet identified the individual killed in the blast. WISN television in Milwaukee is reporting that he went to Seymore High School, graduated college in 2013 with a pre-pharmacy degree and had been employed by Richelieu Foods and living in Beaver Dam since June.
The initial explosion led to the discovery of chemicals so volatile that residents in 17 surrounding buildings were evacuated for two days, until the substances were denotated inside the apartment unit Wednesday afternoon. Law enforcement continues to maintain a perimeter around building 109 in an effort to ensure public safety.