A large explosion and a subsequent building collapse at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has left several people injured and missing. According to KARE 11 News, the explosion was caused by a severed gas pipeline. This, however, is just the preliminary analysis. An investigation is already underway. Right now, though, the focus is on the rescue operations as authorities believe there are several people still trapped under the rubble of the collapsed structure. According to officials, the explosion happened at Minnehaha’s Upper School on 3100 West River Parkway in Minneapolis.
At the time of filing this report, two people are still unaccounted for, and five others were transported to a local hospital with injuries. Earlier, there were reports about one fatality. The Minneapolis Police Department later tweeted out saying that this fatality could not be confirmed. Out of three people who were earlier reported missing, one was found uninjured. Meanwhile, people who live near the site of the incident told reporters that it was a really large explosion.
“It was just a really loud boom. You felt it in your chest,” a resident was quoted saying.
Authorities are on the scene extinguishing the fire and searching for victims. 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.
“It is a good thing that it is summertime. Probably limited the amount of people in the building,” Tyner was quoted saying.
Here are a series of tweets from the Minneapolis Fire Department and the Minneapolis Police Department following the explosion.
According to the people who were inside the building at the time, they had very less time for them to run for safety between the time they smelled the odor of the leaking gas and the actual explosion happening. Lance Johnson, the basketball coach at Minnehaha, said the following.
“As soon as they said, ‘Hey, we smell gas, we gotta get out,’ it exploded. I think the magnitude is the biggest thing I’m trying to comprehend right now.”
Update: A few hours after the explosions, officials have confirmed the death of one person. While this fatality was talked about earlier as well, officials had retracted it a few minutes after they announced it. According to Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel, one person who was initially reported to be missing was found dead in the rubble. As of this writing, one more person is yet to be accounted for. While authorities did not initially reveal the identity of the person who died, the person was later identified as Ruth Berg who worked as a receptionist there. The person who is still not accounted for has been identified as John Carlson, an 81-year-old custodian. Rescue operations are still underway as officials try their best to save the lives of anyone still trapped under the rubble.
In all, seven people were admitted to the nearby Hennepin County Medical Center with injuries. However, three of the admitted people were discharged after they were administered first aid. The hospital is currently treating four people with minor injuries. One person, however, is in a critical condition, hospital authorities revealed.
[Featured Image by hxdbzxy/ Shutterstock]