Lawrence subcontractor in "vicinity" of Wisconsin explosion, company says

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MADISON, Kan. (NBC15/AP) -- A communications company is clarifying where its subcontractor was working when a natural gas explosion killed a Wisconsin firefighter this week.

Authorities say a crew ruptured a gas main in downtown Sun Prairie on Tuesday, leading to an explosion that devastated a half-block and killed firefighter Corry Barr.

Verizon Wireless said Thursday it had contracted with Lawrence, Kansas-based Bear Communications for a fiber project in Sun Prairie. Bear released a statement Thursday saying a subcontractor was working "on site" but gave no details.

A Bear spokesman says the subcontractor was working in the "vicinity" of the explosion. He says the workers were evacuated ahead of the blast. He added "there are many questions that remain to be answered as the investigation continues.”

“While we have not been contacted about the investigation, both we and Bear are prepared to work with law enforcement, public safety and public officials as they investigate this tragic situation,” said Verizon spokesperson Steve Van Dinter in a statement.

It's unclear whether the subcontractor was responsible for rupturing the line.