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“We do have evidence of some sort of explosive event:” Milwaukee home collapses during fire

MILWAUKEE -- After an explosion, a fire and a collapse, officials are trying to determine what caused a house to go down Wednesday morning, August 9th on Milwaukee's north side. It happened around 3:50 a.m. near 24th Place and Auer Avenue.

Fire officials said getting to the bottom of the fire will literally be a challenge. Investigators will have to sift through a pile of rubble to find clues. On Wednesday, they said they just know it was a major fire -- and they're glad no one was hurt.

When crews arrived on scene, they found a two-story wood-frame building with fire coming from the roof and windows. MFD Battalion Chief Dan Lipski said the home collapsed approximately 10 minutes after crews arrived on scene.

Fire near 24th and Auer

Fire near 24th and Auer

"There was some sort of event that shook the house off of its foundation.  We had some basement blocks that were blown out from the building," said Lipski.

Lipski said they requested heavy equipment from the City of Milwaukee to assist.

"We have put over 35,000 to 40,000 gallons of water on this building. The basement is full of water, and we have structural compromise, so we have to be very cautious in our approach," said Lipski. "Right now, we are doing a very labor intensive and very dangerous operation in which we have to attempt to get to the deep-seated fire that's in this structure."

Lipski said there were no reports of any injuries.

Fire near 24th and Auer

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, however, officials said neighbors did report hearing two loud booms.

"We do have evidence of some sort of explosive event. Neighbors do report hearing two loud booms prior to the fire starting. It's too early in the investigation to say if there was an explosion, or what caused it," said Lipski.

The home was a total loss after the fire.

"I expect we will be here for quite some time and I expect our arson investigator will be here even longer," said Lipski.

Neighbors and officials said no one lived in the building. It had a new owner and it was being renovated.

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Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.