NTSB to investigate deadly blast at private Minneapolis high school

by Dwayne Torres August 4, 2017, 0:06
NTSB to investigate deadly blast at private Minneapolis high school

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Authorities say a school receptionist is dead and another staff member is missing after a natural gas explosion at a college prep school in Minneapolis.

"This is a day of extraordinary heartbreak", Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges told reporters.

The National Transportation Safety Board says it's sending investigators to a Minneapolis school where an explosion and partial building collapse killed two people and injured more than a-half dozen others.

At just before 10 p.m. ET, Fire Chief John Fruetel announced that searchers had been able to locate and remove the body of the missing male victim, 81-year-old school custodian John Carlson, at about 8 p.m., bringing the death toll to two.

All students at the school's summer program were safe. According to officials, the explosion was caused by a gas leak while contractors were working in the area.

Assistant Fire Chief Bryan Tyner says two people are unaccounted for and one person suffered critical injuries in the blast.

"At least three of the injured were initially listed in critical condition and four others in serious condition following the blast".

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. The conditions of those transported were not immediately known.

"It could have been a lot worse", Dr. Jim Miner, Hennepin County Medical Center's chief of emergency services said during a media briefing.

Day said the Minnehaha Academy community is very tight knit - and obviously concerned about who may still be inside.

7-month-old boy found dead in hot auto
The infant had apparently been left in the vehicle for about two hours by his father, who forgot the boy, police said. Both of the child's parents are cooperating with police; it's unknown if the father will face any charges.

Neighbors embrace along 31st Street in Minneapolis, just outside of Minnehaha Academy's Upper Campus.

"I mean, it was seconds after they told us to get out that the explosion happened".

"We're going to get through it", she told the crowd.

The few students in the building - school is now not in session - managed to escape the blast, according to the newspaper.

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

Sara Jacobson, executive director of institutional advancement at Minnehaha, says the explosion destroyed a section of classrooms for grades nine through 12.

"Mark Burrington, her fiance, said their September wedding invitations arrived just a day before the blast". He graduated from Minnehaha in 1953, sent his children here, and after retiring from his first career he came back to work at the school.

Tuition and fees for the school range from about $12,000 for kindergarten to more than $21,000 for a senior in high school. "I could see sunlight all the way through to the other side".

A nearby resident said the blast was "the loudest thing (I) ever heard in my entire life" and that the force knocked her cupboard doors open.


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