Just after 11 a.m. Monday, crews were dispatched to a home at the end of 10th Avenue in the Town of Wheaton for was reported as a large explosion. When crews arrived on scene, they found a home destroyed with two victims inside.
The home was right on the border between Chippewa County and Eau Claire County.
According to Chippewa County Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk, the two victims were inside the home at the time of the explosion.
Sheriff Kowalczyk says 66-year-old Dale Lambert and 68-year-old Belinda Wedemeyer were killed in the home explosion.
Sheriff Kowalczyk says right now, it’s unknown what caused the explosion.
“The entire house was destroyed. The foundation walls are destroyed,” said Kowalczyk. “Very very extreme blast as to what happened here”
Sheriff Kowalczyk described what crews faced when they arrived.
“It appears at this point that the house itself exploded for unknown reasons. I was at the scene; I did not see anything that looked to be at one time on fire.”
Kowalczyk says a propane tank linked to the home is a potential cause of the blast.
“The tank is intact, it is to the northeast of the house,” Kowalczyk said. “At this point, the only house, other than the one that exploded, to the east, was the only one that suffered any damage.”
The home sits close to the border between Chippewa and Eau Claire County, which made the decision of who would lead the investigation tricky.
“Initially the call came in and Eau Claire Police Department along with Eau Claire County responded. Once they arrived on scene they determined that it is indeed Chippewa County and notified us and we responded with all of our investigators to assist all personal that are involved.”
Now, he says it is up to Chippewa County to figure exactly what happened.
“We do have agents on scene from the states that are very very qualified in these types of situations,” Kowalczyk said. “It may be a very lengthy investigation as to what happened and why it happened.”
Lambert, who owned the home and friend, Wedemeyer were in the home at the time of the blast. The cause for the explosion is still under investigation