911 caller made bomb threat before Rice Lake, Wis. apartment explosion

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An explosion and fire destroyed an apartment complex on South Main Street in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Photo credit: The Chronotype of Rice Lake.

A man called 911 in Rice Lake, Wisconsin late Sunday night and told the dispatcher he had a bomb. A short time later, an explosion and fire destroyed his apartment building.

The Rice Lake Police Department first responded to the 911 call at 11:07 p.m. Sunday. Upon arrival, officers approached the South Main Street apartment of 44-year-old Joseph Zunker and heard a man yelling inside. When officers and deputies tried to make contact, Zunker threatened to “blow everyone up."

Police evacuated approximately 14 residents from the building before officers witnessed Zunker lighting a fire that caused the destructive explosion.

The fire that followed the explosion spread throughout the entire apartment complex, and the building has been declared a complete loss. Zunker was later found dead inside his apartment.

As a result of the explosion, one Rice Lake police officer suffered minor injuries from flying debris. He was treated by paramedics and returned to duty. One resident received minor injuries while being evacuated from the building. No other injuries were reported.

The Barron County Sheriff’s Department, Rice Lake Fire Department, Lakeview Medical Center, Life Link, Red Cross, and the Marathon County Bomb Squad all assisted Rice Lake police at the scene.