Unable to extinguish the orange and yellow sheets of fire that gushed 10 and 20 feet from under the above-ground propane tank, firefighters simply used water to cool the metal in hope of preventing an explosion that could ignite other tanks, some only a few feet away.
"We're trying to avoid the situation where the tanks get too hot," Police Chief Mike Bromeland said.
There are "30 or 60 other tanks in the area," he said. "If they explode, they could take off like a torpedo."
The car, thoroughly burned, sat under the end of the tank. Five hours after the accident, flames still kept firefighters from approaching so it was unsure if anyone was in the vehicle.
Bromeland said the car traveled into a ditch, hit a fence and struck the end of the tank.
About 500 to 600 people were evacuated from the western portion of the village, which is about 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee.
Christine Toynton, 83, was evacuated from her home to a nearby school. She said people are "just worried" but have confidence in the rescue squads.
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