BEAVER DAM -- The controlled burn of Building #109 at the Village Glen apartment complex in Beaver Dam has been postponed until Thursday, March 15 due to a change in the forecast weather conditions. Officials said wind speeds for Wednesday were not expected to be favorable for a safe operation. They're planning to burn the building to the ground to safely destroy the rest of the volatile chemicals still inside after a deadly explosion Monday, March 5. We learned on Tuesday afternoon officials could release the name of the man who died as soon as Wednesday.
The time for the controlled demolition will remain the same on Thursday -- 10 a.m. At 9 a.m., streets surrounding the Village Glen apartment complex will be closed to traffic. Five nearby buildings will be evacuated along with an assisted living complex. Twenty fire departments will be on hand to help Beaver Dam firefighters destroy the building. Neighboring buildings will be sprayed with water and steel packing crates will be stacked up to prevent the flames from spreading.
"The plan at this time is to light the building at both ends and let it burn towards the middle. There will be no suppression efforts on the building that we are burning. We have been advised to let it burn as long and as hot as possible. It is heat that degrades the explosive material," said Alan Mannel, Beaver Dam fire chief on Monday.
Two drones with thermal imaging cameras will be flying overhead to monitor temperatures. All private drones are prohibited from flying in the area -- due to a temporary flight restriction.
On March 5, officials said a deadly mix of volatile chemicals led to an explosion in a second-floor unit that killed a tenant. Investigators found more chemicals inside and conducted a controlled detonation on Wednesday, March 7, but the next day, another blast, though small, proved their efforts fell short.
The 15 families that lived in Building #109 will have to find a new home, and they won't be allowed back inside to retrieve their belongings.
"That's why we're throwing everything together to give them some money to get their feet back on the ground again and get started," said Nicholas Guthery with the Beaver Dam Professional Firefighter Charities.
A bowling tournament has been planned for Saturday, March 17 at Tower Lanes, and all of the proceeds will benefit these victims.
"We are a smaller city, but you can obviously see that community has come together in this with donations so far and raffle prizes from all over Wisconsin," said Guthery.
The charity will match up to $5,000 in donations.
Meanwhile, an account for monetary donations has been opened to assist the residents that have been displaced from the Village Glen Apartments. The funds will be for Village Glen Apartments Building 109 residents ONLY. Donations can be made at any Dodge County Horicon Bank location. The name of the account is Dodge County COAD / Beaver Dam Apartments. Any non-monetary donations should go to St. Vincent DePaul or American National Bank. Please do not drop off any items at the Village Glen Apartments.