School building collapses after possible gas leak in Minneapolis

Courtesy KSTP  Chopper 5

Courtesy KSTP Chopper 5

The teenager was among the students and staff who escaped the natural gas explosion that killed receptionist Ruth Berg, 47, and janitor John F. Carlson, 82, and injured nine other people, one critically.

Fire Chief John Fruetel confirmed a body was pulled from the rubble just before a 2.45pm local time.

Fruetel says it's possible a void was created when the building collapsed. He was not sure if the two missing people are contractors or school staff.

Jacobson, the school spokeswoman, said Carlson graduated with the Minnehaha Academy class of 1953 and went to Sunday school there.

He also vividly remembered Carlson, the custodian, whom he fondly described an unofficial school historian.

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Within seconds of the powerful explosion, residents poured onto sidewalks and front lawns, stunned at the burning pile of rubble that moments before was a century-old school building. She had worked at the private Christian school for 17 years.

Minneapolis officials said that one person had died, according to KARE 11, but that claim has been disputed by local fire department. Search and rescue teams spent most of the day hoping that pile contained enough void space for Carlson to have survived, though ultimately firefighters found his body just after 8 p.m. next to the spot where Berg was found hours earlier.

All the injured were adults, Tyner said. As of Wednesday afternoon, three were in satisfactory condition, five had been released from the hospital and one remained in critical condition.

Injuries include broken bones, lacerations and head wounds, officials added.

All students at the Minnehaha Academy school in Minnesota were accounted for following the blast.

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The state fire marshal's office is assisting in the investigation.

The natural gas explosion ravaged the upper campus of Minnehaha Academy, piercing a giant hole in the structure, sparking a blaze and leaving mounds of debris where a stairwell, utility area and classrooms previously stood. "About the time the man sprinting down the street got to the end down here there was a huge explosion", Mahler said.

The Star Tribune also said there were female students on campus for summer cross-country practice, as well as school basketball and soccer players.

According to its website Minnehaha Academy, which was founded in 1913, teaches more than 800 students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade on two campuses.

A work permit issued by the city of Minneapolis to an Eagan-based company, Master Mechanical Inc., allowed for gas piping and a meter hook up. Previously, it was reported that three people were #missing but later, one was found with injuries.

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Flames shoot up as firefighters train water hoses on the scene of a collapsed building following an explosion at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis.

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