Beaver Dam apartment declared 'complete loss' after explosion

UPDATE (WKOW) -- The apartment complex where a deadly explosion took place earlier this week has been declared a complete loss.

The Dodge County Sheriff's Office says due to safety concerns about remnant explosive material that may still be inside the building, they will have to remove the building.

The investigation is ongoing.


BEAVER DAM (WKOW) - The owner of an explosion-damaged Beaver Dam apartment building tells 27 News he believes it's unlikely residents of sixteen units will be allowed to return to their homes.The building at 109 Knaup Drive is part of the more than one-hundred unit Village Glen Apartments is owned by Bill Graper.  Authorities say a building tenant with dangerous chemicals and bomb-making materials in his unit set-off a Monday explosion and lost his life.  Bomb experts Wednesday detonated the apartment's remaining contents, a blast viewed by Graper.

"I saw the explosion, the way it took the roof joists, bent and flexed them in a way that shouldn't be bent,"  Graper tells 27 News.

Graper says an engineer will survey the building to determine its structural integrity.

Graper says half of the evacuated residents in the damaged building have renter's insurance.Kathy Hagen is one of those residents.  She's been staying with a friend, coordinating coverage benefits with an insurance broker, and beginning to plan her next destination. 

 "And now the emotional part is weighing in,"  Hagen says.

Hagen lived on the floor below the suspect's apartment, and says her unit was rocked by the explosion, with pictures falling off the walls and other objects moved, as she and her visiting daughter fell to the floor.

She says the neighbor suspect was a man in his twenties or thirties, clean-cut but reserved, and always carrying a back up.  Hagen says her last recollection of an encounter with him was when he complimented her twelve-year old Jack Russell Terrier.

"He said, 'Cute dog,"  Hagen remembers.  "And now in hindsight, he had every intention of blowing my little dog up,"  she says.

Authorities have yet to release the suspect's identity.  An FBI Special Agent says it's believed the Monday explosion was an accident, not a planned blast.  Graper says the man moved into the apartment in November, and created no problems until the blast.

Graper says evacuated residents are being refunded March's rent and their security deposits.Those residents may learn by Friday whether a return is possible.

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