(CBS) — New details are emerging about a firefighter who was killed when a gas leak ignited a building explosion in.
Flame engulfed several residential buildings, leaving cars and storefronts burning, and miles of smoke.
“There was a big boom and it knocked me to the ground. [I] ran outside and I saw a mushroom cloud,” said Jason Cine, a witness.
The firefighters who had gone to check a gas leak battled the blaze, including 34-year-old Cory Barr, a 15-year-veteran and captain at the Sun Prairie Fire Department. He was killed, leaving behind a wife and 3-year-old twin daughters.
Police quickly asked residents to clear the scene and a local nursing home was evacuated.
“We were told that a contractor did strike one of our natural gas mains,” said Amy Jahns, spokesperson for We Energies. “Unfortunately there was some sort of explosion that happened after that natural gas leak happened.”
The incident, which authorities say was an accident, destroyed at least four buildings, leaving streets filled with debris.
The wife of the firefighter killed said he was a great father and firefighter, who loved to help his community. Five other firefighters were hurt, and seven others were treated for minor injuries.