Oconomowoc Dep. Fire Chief Tells Story Of Survival
OCONOMOWOC - New information about that church explosion in Oconomowoc. Now, we’re hearing from a deputy fire chief who actually saw the building explode.
There were firefighters at the site responding to a gas leak when the explosion happened.
Friday, TODAY’S TMJ4’s Mick Trevey talked to one of them, and he has an incredible story of survival.
“People say miracles don't happen now days. I firmly believe they do, because one just did, at least in my life,” Deputy Fire Chief Glenn Leidel said.
Leidel has pictures that show how close he was when the First Baptist Church exploded.
“There was no warning, and when they say things happen in an instant, it did,” Leidel said.
The very miraculous part of Leidel's story is that he was shielded from the debris by the church's bell tower, the only structure to survive the blast.
“They could see where the debris field went right, where the debris field went left. We were in the middle of that. If any of us would have been a foot or two in either direction, at best we would have been seriously injured,” Leidel said.
Deputy Chief Leidel says he has reflected on what happened a lot in the two days since the blast, and he feels incredibly blessed.
“It's a very sobering and humbling thought that but for the grace of God, I survived this, and not only survived it, but survived without injury,” Leidel said.
A few Oconomowoc firefighters went to the hospital from this scene, but from exhaustion, not injury. The fire department is counting its blessings that such a devastating explosion caused so little harm to people.