Search and Overhaul Underway At Scene of House Explosion

Incident Type
Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 1:59pm
Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 2:03pm
7800 Block Stratton Way
Madison, WI

***UPDATE -- 9/17/17 at 4:07 p.m.***

After an exhaustive search of the property at 7806 Stratton Way, Madison Fire Investigators, along with the Madison Police Department, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, our local ATF agent, MG&E, and the Wisconsin State Patrol have recovered enough evidence to conclude that the explosion that occurred Wednesday afternoon was intentional. For the latest on the criminal investigation, please refer to the Madison Police Department's report.

High Point Road will re-open at 6:00 p.m. Sunday, September 17. We thank the community for respecting the investigation scene and ask that, after High Point opens, you still only use the road only out of necessity. There is potential for the investigators to still be on scene for several days in the coming week.


***UPDATE -- 9/15/17 at 12:05 p.m.***

The Madison Fire Department's Heavy Urban Rescue Team (HURT) has been on scene over the past two days to facilitate a safe and methodic search operation on Stratton Way.

Around 9:00 a.m., a body was found amid the debris. The Dane County Medical Examiner (DCME) is on scene, and it is up to the DCME to release any information pertaining to the identity of the deceased. As the HURT, MFD Fire Investigation, and partnering agencies continue to search the scene, they remain on the lookout for any other potential victims.

Investigators are still trying to piece together what led to the explosion, and whether it is suspicious in nature. These questions remain undetermined at this time.

Officials are working to re-open some roadways in the area. We will alert the public when traffic patterns have changed.


***UPDATE -- 9/14/17 at 4:51 p.m.***

At this time, the Madison Fire Department continues to investigate what caused the explosion that occurred on Stratton Way yesterday.

In the meantime, City of Madison Building Inspection has confirmed that surrounding homes can be reoccupied. MGE is in the process of restoring utilities to the those homes which had been evacuated Wednesday afternoon. Homeowners will be contacted and instructed to meet with MGE personnel for full restoration of service. The MFD anticipates reoccupancy to be completed by this evening.

Our search efforts are still underway. There are no updates regarding potential victims. We will continue to keep you updated as the operation progresses.


***UPDATE -- 9/14/17 at 9:36 a.m.***

Investigative operations continue on Stratton Way today. At this time, there are no significant updates on this case. The search for possible victims continues. Residents who were displaced last night are still unable to return home. Once again, anybody who needs housing assistance should contact the American Red Cross at 414-659-0373.

We will be sure to issue updates on a periodic basis, and if there are any significant developments, we will inform you right away.


***UPDATE -- 9/13/17 at 7:08 P.M.***

Any individuals and families who reside along Stratton Way, from 7805 to 7821 Stratton Way, are unable to return to their homes tonight as response agencies continue their operations. All other residents in the area may return to their homes but may not cross the police perimeter marked by yellow tape labeled "DO NOT CROSS".

If you reside in one of the homes on Stratton Way listed above and require housing assistance, please contact the American Red Cross at 414-659-0373 to be connected with a dispatcher. A volunteer will be paged to assist you.

There are no other updates at this time. Search operations and investigations continue.


Search and overhaul operations continue at the site of a house explosion that occurred Wednesday afternoon. It is not known at this time whether anybody was inside the home at the time of the explosion or if there are any victims.

Multiple 911 callers reported the explosion at 7806 Stratton Way just before 2 p.m. Upon arrival, firefighters found the house completely destroyed with debris spread across the vicinity. What remained of the structure was on fire, threatening nearby properties. Crews immediately began a defensive fire attack and achieved initial knockdown at 2:36 p.m.

Firefighters continue to search the rubble as Madison Police, Dane County Sheriff's Office, ATF, MGE, and other agencies assist with ongoing investigations and safety considerations. The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army are providing help to displaced residents and first responders in need of nourishment.

The American Red Cross is establishing a checkpoint at S. High Point Road and McKee Road. Neighborhood occupants with questions about accessing their homes should identify themselves at the American Red Cross checkpoint for further instruction.

This release will be updated as more information becomes available regarding access and displacements.


Posted 09/13/2017 - 5:31pm

Cynthia Schuster (Public Information Officer)