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2 people injured after explosion at Janesville duplex; video shows the destruction left behind

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An explosion at a duplex in Janesville injured two.
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An explosion at a duplex in Janesville injured two.
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An explosion at a duplex in Janesville injured two.
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An explosion at a duplex in Janesville injured two.
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An explosion at a duplex in Janesville injured two.

(Video Courtesy: Angie Hoffland)

UPDATE (WKOW) -- Janesville officials are continuing to investigate an explosion and fire that happened Monday night.

At 9:15 p.m. crews responded to 706 Hawthorne Avenue for a report of a residential fire. When they got there they found one side of a duplex fully engulfed.

Two people were taken to the hospital, one with minor injuries and the other with serious injuries, including burns.

The Janesville Fire Department said the fire was contained to one unit, but it was hard to extinguish because natural gas was fueling the fire.

Janesville Fire's deputy chief told 27 News they're investigating the water heater. They think it's been leaking for a few days, but that gas ignited when someone inside lit a cigarette.

Additionally, it was reported that one tenant had smelled gas for a while and when the other tenant lit a cigarette, the home exploded.

"Both occupants were taken up to UW Hospital in Madison," said Jim Ponkauskas, the Janesville Deputy fire chief. "I do not know their conditions at this time. The only thing I do know is one has burn injuries and the other has more of a compression injury."

UW Health confirmed Tuesday afternoon that both are listed in fair condition.

The fire was completely out after Alliant Energy got to the scene and turned off the gas.

The person who lives in the other half of the duplex wasn't hurt and is now staying with family in town.

The unit where the explosion happened is a total loss with damage reported at more than $120,000.

JFD stayed on scene throughout the night to watch for hot spots. Tuesday morning, smoke was still seen coming from the rubble.

The investigation will continue Tuesday.

Janesville home explosion

Dramatic video into the newsroom shows the aftermath an duplex explosion in the 800 block of Hawthorne Avenue in Janesville. 27 News has confirmed that two people suffered injuries. One suffered serious injuries and the other had minor injuires. Video courtesy: Angie Hoffland. The latest this morning on Wake Up Wisconsin. Read more: https://on.wkow.com/2LZODXf

Posted by WKOW 27 on Monday, May 25, 2020

UPDATE (WKOW) -- Two people were taken to Mercy Hospital after an explosion at a duplex in Janesville.

Video into the newsroom shows the destruction left behind after the explosion and fire on the 800 block of Hawthorne Avenue.

Janesville Fire Battalion Chief Ron Bomkamp says someone reported a gas smell in the duplex and that the explosion appears to have been caused by a cigarette. At this point, the investigation is in the preliminary stages.

The duplex is badly damaged and likely a total loss.

Bomkamp tells 27 News that one of the victims injured is in serious condition. The other has minor injuries. A dog was taken to an emergency veterinarian.

Tuesday morning on Wake Up Wisconsin, we hear from neighbors who jumped into action when they heard the explosion.


JANESVILLE (WKOW) -- Janesville Fire Department is battling a residential fire in the 800 block of Hawthorne Avenue.

Rock County Sheriff's Office reports that the call came in as a possible explosion. The call came into dispatch around 9:15 p.m.

We have a crew headed there now and will bring you more info as we learn more.

Matthew Cash

Senior Executive Producer

Rebecca Ribley

Wake Up Wisconsin Anchor

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