Investigators search for cause of duplex explosion that injured firefighters

CREATED Jun 3, 2012 - UPDATED: Jun 4, 2012

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MILWAUKEE - Six people, including five firefighters are hurt after what appears to have been an explosion on Milwaukee's north side.

A man who spoke to TODAY'S TMJ4 says he had stopped by to visit hit aunt in the duplex, located near 38th and Townsend. When he arrived, he smelled gas right away. Milwaukee Firefighters were at the duplex to check out the odor when the building exploded into flames.

"It just blew the roof off of it," Samuel Dorsey says. "[A] big fire ball, just unreal."

Dorsey and his family members narrowly escaped as his aunt's duplex burst into flames. He says he had told his family to get out as soon as he smelled the gas."

Minutes later, Dorsey heard the boom and saw flames.

At least two Milwaukee Firefighters were inside investigating the smell when the duplex exploded. The force of the blast sent one firefighter flying.

"He was blown back into my uncle and my uncle grabbed him before he actually hit the ground hard," Dorsey says.

James Taylor saw the explosion, too.

"The fireman, he blew back into me and we both went across the street," Taylor says. "That's exactly what happened."

Witnesses saw firefighters bring out another hurt firefighter.

Dorsey says a man living in the top part of the duplex was inside at the time and appeared to have been thrown from the building by the explosion.