Subcontractor named in blast

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (AP) — A company building a fiber optics network has identified the subcontractor working in the area before an explosion that killed a Wisconsin firefighter this week.

Bear Communications of Lawrence, Kansas, on Friday said that VC Tech Inc. was working in the Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, area before Tuesday’s blast. Bear Communications says when VC Tech’s employees smelled gas, they notified authorities of the gas leak and helped evacuate people before the explosion happened.

Verizon Wireless has said it had contracted with Bear Communications for the fiber optics project in Sun Prairie, near Madison. In a statement, Bear Communications says no one from its company was present on site when the gas line began leaking.

A contact for VC Tech could not be found. A search of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration database found no safety violations by VC Tech in the past five years.

Sun Prairie Fire Department Capt. Cory Barr was killed in the blast. Eleven other people, including five other firefighters and a police officer, were hurt.