Two Missing in Gas Explosion in Minnehaha Academy At Minneapolis

The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a team to Minneapolis to investigate the explosion that caused a school building to collapse Wednesday, killing two staff members and injuring several others.

In a news conference, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said it was "a day of extraordinary heartbreak in Minneapolis".

At the time of the blast, contractors were working on one of the campus buildings, Assistant Minneapolis Fire Chief Bryan Tyner told the Associated Press. The academy confirmed on its Facebook page that there had been a gas leak and explosion at its Upper School.

Family members sad 81-year-old John Carlson, a school janitor, was the person still missing, reported KTSP.

John Carlson was initially unaccounted for after the explosion on Wednesday, but school officials later announced that the man had been found dead in the wake of the blast.

Authorities say seven adults are hospitalised, including three with critical injuries.

No details are available about the other victims, other than they were not in critical condition.

Master Mechanical Inc. was issued a permit on June 7 for "gas piping and hooking up meter" at the location, the paper reported, citing city records.

A story in the school newspaper featured Carlson, who was known to hand out Dilly bars to students and always greeting them in the hallways. They suffered injuries ranging from head injuries and broken bones to cuts from debris, according to Dr. Jim Miner, the hospital's chief of emergency medicine.

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Day said the Minnehaha Academy community is very tight knit - and obviously concerned about who may still be inside. He graduated from Minnehaha Academy in 1953 and sent his own kids there before returning himself after retirement.

"We heard a loud explosion and just got out as quickly as possible", said Traumond Van Lear, who is the basketball coach. She had worked at the private Christian school for 17 years.

Classes at the school are still on summer break, so not many people were inside when the explosion occurred.

"Berg was supposed to have been fitted for her wedding dress today".

We continue to monitor the situation and are working in full cooperation with the Minneapolis Fire Department.

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

After they ran outside to safety, Van Leer said he looked back and, "Wow, the whole section of the school is gone". "I could see daylight completely through to the opposite side".

"I was just sitting, reading the paper and there was just a huge blast", Dillaway said.

Gov. Mark Dayton's office released a statement saying state officials were in close contact with local emergency responders and will provide help needed.

  • Michelle Webb