August 21, 2017

Explosion injures 6 at Minneapolis school

03 August 2017, 04:13 | Christie Tate

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The school identified the dead as 48-year-old Ruth Berg, who worked in the school's administrative office, and custodian John Carlson, 81.

"We just started digging", Meskan said.

Fruetel says it's possible a void was created when the building collapsed.

A prayer service arranged after the blast was standing-room-only Wednesday night at the school's lower campus.

A school official said about a dozen students in the school gym were all OK. Authorities say at this point, they can not confirm any fatalities.

Video of the explosion at the private Christian school shows flames and smoke coming from the building rubble.

Authorities say one school staff member was killed in the blast and another is missing. The company said it was working with fire investigators. Three others were unaccounted for and being actively searched for in the rubble and elsewhere.

Hours earlier, an explosion rocked Minnehaha Academy Upper School. And after 17 years with Minnehaha Academy, Berg and her upcoming wedding had students past and present chattering.

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"He loved people, he loved God and he loved his school", she said.

All students at the school's summer program were safe. Part of the brick building collapsed after the explosion, authorities said. According to a statement of the Minnehaha Academy, "there was a gas leak and #explosion at the Upper School". "The cause of the incident is not known at this time and we will conduct an investigation to determine the cause".

Former Minnehaha Academy employees Elizabeth Van Pilsum, left, and Rick Olson, center, react after an explosion at the school in Minneapolis.

- Fruetel confirms there is one fatality. According to Brian Tyner, the assistant chief of administration for the Minneapolis Fire Department, the number of injured people were greatly reduced because it was summertime.

Fire crews extinguished the blaze and remain looking to remove any people who might be trapped, officials added.

The school has two campuses, a south campus with pre-school through 8th grade.

The Minnehaha Academy Upper School is located at 3100 West River Parkway in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis. The Minneapolis Police Department later tweeted out saying that this fatality could not be confirmed. She said it is "terribly hard not being with my family at this difficult time". According to reports, rescues are underway for victims, and three people have been rescued off the roof. "He could tell you stories about the buildings, about people". He didn't immediately know whether the missing were adults or children.

Fire officials are still assessing how to inspect the impacted area.

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