ROME — Crews continue to work through debris of a house explosion where one person was killed in a blast believed to be caused by a natural gas explosion Tuesday afternoon.
The Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation and State Fire Marshals were dispatched to the scene at N3907 W. Water St. in the Village of Rome.
In a press release from Jefferson County Sheriff Paul Milbrath, multiple 911 calls were received at 1:49 p.m. Tuesday where callers stated that the house had been completely destroyed in the explosion and the smell of natural gas could be detected, and that flames were coming from the home’s debris field.
Upon arriving, responding agencies set up an evacuation of the immediate area of residents and conducted a canvass of nearby homes for any other possible injuries, which none were found.
Deputies reported a very large debris field and that the home had been leveled by the explosion. Other homes near the incident had received structural damage in the form of broken windows, impact marks on their homes and debris in yards.
WE Energies arrived at the scene to shut the natural gas off.
Two people lived in the home and one was killed in the blast, according to officials.
Local and area residents reported hearing the deafening explosion — even from as far away as Mukwonago — and then observed a plume of dense black smoke rise into the air.
Following the explosion, residents and businesses in and around Rome — a village of some 700 people — were left without power.
According to We Energies spokesperson Brendan Conway, about 194 business and residential customers in Jefferson County were still without power at Tuesday but crews were expected to restore service soon.
Other customers affected by the outage, he said, would have power restored after We Energies crews were able to access downed wires near where authorities were investigating.
Conway said scattered debris from the explosion likely caused the electrical outages, but that the investigation still is ongoing.
The following fire agencies responding to the scene were Eagle, Fort Atkinson, Helenville, Ixonia, Jefferson, Johnson Creek, LaGrange, Lake Country, Lake Mills, Palmyra, Rome, Sullivan, Western Lakes and Whitewater Fire departments. Also responding were EMS units from Jefferson, Palmyra and Western Lakes.
The investigation of the home explosion is ongoing.
The sheriff’s office has established extra patrol coverage in the area for the next week as owners work to secure their properties.