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One Dead in Wis. Building Collapse

July 13, 2002

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LOMIRA, Wis. (AP) _ Part of a huge Wisconsin printing plant collapsed and burned, killing one person and sending flames billowing into the sky in a blaze that continued for hours, authorities said.

About 330 people had been working inside the Quad/Graphics plant when the fire began Friday night.

Early Saturday, Cpl. David Weninger of the Dodge County Sheriff’s Department said all the workers had been accounted for except one employee of a cleaning service. It wasn’t clear Saturday morning if the man found dead in the rubble was that employee.

No other injuries were reported.

Sherry Prus said she was working at a machine in the finishing department when part of a nearby addition to the plant collapsed.

``I just heard this, like a thundering sound, a boom-boom-boom-boom-boom,″ she said. She and other workers were evacuated to a parking lot.

``The smoke was just unbelievable,″ she said. ``You could smell the chemicals.″

Employees said the part of the building that collapsed was a 10-story storage area that had recently been added to the plant, which the company describes as the largest printing facility in the Western Hemisphere.

The plant is about 2 million square feet, covering several city blocks of Lomira, about 45 miles northwest of Milwaukee. According to a news release from the sheriff’s department, the fire was isolated to a warehouse and caused little damage to the main printing facilities.

Update hourly