Two dead in school blast
MINNEAPOLIS» A second body was found in the rubble of a collapsed school building in Minneapolis after an explosion that also killed a school employee and injured several others, fire officials said Wednesday night.
City Fire Chief John Fruetel said the body was recovered around 8 p.m. Wednesday at Minnehaha Academy. Fruetel said the medical examiner’s office is working to notify relatives.
The blast occurred in a utility as students were playing soccer and basketball at the private Christian school, which serves students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, according to fire and school officials.
Contractors were working on one of the campus’ buildings at the time of the blast, which investigators believe was caused by a natural gas explosion, said Assistant Minneapolis Fire Chief Bryan Tyner.
The explosion killed Ruth Berg, a receptionist for 17 years at the school who “welcomed everyone with a smile,” the school said in a statement.
John Carlson, a part-time janitor known for giving Dilly Bars to students, had been reported missing before his body was found. The 81-year-old attended the school as a child, sent his own children there and was like a grandfather figure to students, school officials said.
Four people remained hospitalized late Wednesday, including one in critical condition, at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, according to the hospital. Their names haven’t been released.
Dr. Jim Miner, the hospital’s chief of emergency medicine, said victims treated from the blast suffered injuries ranging from head injuries and broken bones to cuts from debris.
The Star Tribune reported that city records show Master Mechanical Inc. was issued a permit on June 7 for “gas piping and hooking up meter” at the school’s address. Ryan Larsen, a company official, released a statement saying the company was monitoring the situation and referred questions to the Minneapolis Fire Department.
Emergency workers respond to an explosion at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis on Wednesday. Officials said the explosion, which left two people dead, may have been caused by a ruptured gas line.