Fire in Wisconsin Factory Causes Explosions Heard for Miles

Risk Logic Inc. (RLI) is a consulting engineering company that provides Loss Prevention Services. Since 1997, we have been working in regions all over the world utilizing the most advanced and current standards.

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May 25th

A large factory fire in Waukesha County, Wisconsin caused smoke to choke the air even several miles away, leading to students at a nearby elementary school to be bussed home, and residents alerted to stay indoors. Summerset Marine Construction located at W357 S8715 Chapman Lane was engulfed in flames, leading to one large explosion followed by several smaller explosions starting at 8 a.m. on Thursday May 19th, 2022.

Thee 24,000 ft2 facility was a factory, as well as warehouse space, a showroom, and office space.  Summerset Marine Construction is a marine factory which manufactures and installs piers and docks. The business has been in operation since 1990 and employs about 60 people.

The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation. Assistant Chief Matt Haerter points to nothing suspicious. The Wisconsin Incident Management Team also seems to be ruling out spontaneous combustion, pointing to normal welding operations being the likely source.

The fire and explosions led to a total roof collapse. The plastic wood and fuel inside also made it too dangerous for firefighters to go inside the building. Asst Chief Matt Haerter states, “The structure of the building has collapsed significantly and trapped a lot of the combustibles that are burning underneath a very thick metal roof. There is a line of how far you go for extinguishment versus how long you wait to be able to get investigators to get an eye on (the damaged building) before it is disturbed.” It took more than 400,000 gallons of water from two nearby lakes to aid in dousing the fire. The Department of Natural Resources is helping to contain pollution in the area.

Annual property loss prevention inspections by Risk Logic could have prevented this loss.  The inspections include a review of the adequacy of the fire protection system, inspection testing and maintenance programs (ITM) program, cutting and welding and impairment management procedures. Also having an effective Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place can help to recover after a disaster such as a major fire. Contact us for all your property loss prevention and BCP needs.