Explosion leads to collapse of Minneapolis school building

Firefighters at the scene of an apparent explosion

School receptionist Ruth Berg and janitor John Carlson were killed.

- Fruetel said the center of the building is likely where the gas leak originated and the subsequent collapse occurred.

He was a graduate of the school - and his children also attended - before he returned as a custodian.

The blast Wednesday shook the building and started a fire.

"Please also keep in your prayers a staff member who is unaccounted for, those who were injured and are now receiving medical care, and family members".

Employees of a food-services company were interviewing job candidates at the building Wednesday, said Alex Buck, the digital media director of Taher Inc. of Minnetonka.

Ruth Berg, a receptionist at the school, had worked there for 17 years.

Because of hanging debris, Fruetel said they had to work methodically to find Carlson, while keeping their crews' safety a priority.

City fire officials said Wednesday's collapse was caused by a natural gas explosion.

An explosion in a Minneapolis school have killed at least one person and left three unaccounted for.

The disaster Wednesday came mid-morning, as contractors were working on the building and workers suddenly began to warn of a gas leak.

Tuition fees at the school cost between $12,470 per year for kindergarteners and $21,280 for those in Grade 12.

Minnehaha Academy is a private, Christian college prep school, located on the banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.

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. All of those reported missing or injured are adults, they said. He graduated from Minnehaha Academy in 1953 and sent his own kids there before returning himself after retirement. "It was just a really loud boom", said one resident. The lower school downriver was unaffected. All the teachers and students who were present for summer programs were saved.

The explosion happened near the school's office and maintenance area.

"It sounded like a freight door shutting".

"I remember the first day she told me she got engaged and she showed us her ring", said student Deity Sullivan-Fonts.

"He'd always talk to you in between classes and he would always offer you Dilly bars", student Roddy Macdonald said, according to Fox 9. "They are figuring it out".

The state fire marshal will likely take the lead, he says, but Minneapolis fire and other agencies may be involved. The Minneapolis Police Department later tweeted out saying that this fatality could not be confirmed.

Five people were transported to the hospital, one of whom is in critical condition.

A third person who was earlier unaccounted for was later found unharmed according to Assistant Chief of Administration Bryan Tyner.

As school workers, students and neighbors gathered by the tennis courts in the northwest corner of campus, some Taher employees waited with tears in their eyes to learn the fate of co-workers.

He said that it had to be a 'very significant explosion to have taken out that building and cause it to collapse'. Earlier, there were reports about one fatality.

"We're blessed", he said. This only affects the Upper School.

"He loved the school, the people, and the kids - you could just tell", said a woman on Facebook, who described meeting Carlson while visiting the school as a prospective parent. "We were prepared for a lot more injuries".

"My mom jumped on top of me", she said.

"Seconds after that.my daughter got up and was getting ready to leave out of the counselor's office and was blown back into the counselor's office by the explosion", he said.

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