WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- There are still unanswered questions following a house explosion and apparent death Thursday northeast of Wausau. The biggest question is, “Why?”
The home just south of Highway 52 at 8309 Pioneer Lane was totally destroyed after the explosion and subsequent fire.
The investigation continued Friday, and that’s when firefighters and detectives found human remains buried under debris. Sheriff Scott Parks says the remains are believed to be the sole occupant and owner of the home, 43-year-old Jesse B. Jehn, however, positive identification of the remains has not been established. The remains were not located until after the fire crews extinguished the flames and the Marathon-Oneida Bomb Squad verified the site was safe from further explosive devices.
Full autopsy results are pending, and Lieutenant Fred Goch believes dental records will be an important tool to help verify that Jehn was the man who died in the house.
The explosion appears to have been triggered by five devices that were rigged to go off simultaneously in the basement. Sheriff Parks says five other incendiary devices were also found outside of the house. Two devices were found inside two separate vehicles parked outside and near the residence. Another device was found in a camper. All of the devices were rigged with a timed fuse.
Investigators did not say if the devices in the vehicles were the same as what was used inside the house. Detectives do say they have no doubt this was an intentional act because of the way the devices were rigged. They also believe no one else was involved because of the way the devices in the nearby vehicles were set up.
Several agencies assisted at the scene. A Marathon County Sheriff’s Department deputy was nearby when the explosion occurred, and was first on the scene. Firefighters from the Town of Wausau, City of Wausau, Town of Easton, Town of Hewitt, Village of Weston and the Town of Rib Mountain Fire and EMS Departments fought the fire. The Marathon/Oneida County Bomb Team, FBI, State Fire Marshals, Wisconsin Public Service, and the Salvation Army also provided assistance.