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3 missing after building explosion, collapse at Minnehaha Academy in Minnesota

3 missing after building explosion, collapse at Minnehaha Academy in Minnesota

3 missing after building explosion, collapse at Minnehaha Academy in Minnesota

Two people were unaccounted for and nine were hospitalized Wednesday after a petroleum gas blast shook Minnehaha Academy and crumbled some portion of a building, authorities in Minneapolis said.

The bodies were found in the rubble of a building that partially collapsed during the blast at the Minnehaha Academy, Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel said during a news conference.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Fire officials say three people are unaccounted for after an explosion and partial building collapse at a Minneapolis school. Firefighters were at the scene extinguishing the fire and searching for survivors.

"School spokeswoman Sara Jacobson says classes were not in session, but there were students and staff in the building at the time: 'The students who were here on site were practicing basketball in the gym.at the far northern side of the building, ' [she said.] 'The explosion happened in the middle of the building". "The dogs were startled and came out 30 seconds later, saw where the building used to be one continuous building now had a gap".

"We were hoping there might be a void space", Chief Fruetel said at a news conference on Wednesday night.

Minnehaha Academy said in a statement on Facebook that it had lost two staff members in the incident, John Carlson and receptionist Ruth Berg.

After they ran outside to safety, Van Leer said he looked back and, "Wow, the whole section of the school is gone".

Minnehaha Academy is a K-12th grade private Christian school with about 825 students enrolled. Investigators believe the explosion was caused by natural gas.

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Officer Vicki Karnik, one of the first responding officers on the scene, said the explosion reminded her of the 2007 Minneapolis bridge collapse that killed 13 people and injured 145.

Assistant Fire Chief Brian Tyner said a search and rescue mission is taking place, but that the two missing might not be inside the building.

Nine people were injured in the blast, which occurred about 10:20 a.m. amid a construction project in the school's boiler room, fire officials said. Minnehaha Academy says all Summer Program students and staff are "accounted for and safe".

The Star Tribune reports that city records show Master Mechanical was issued a permit for "gas piping and hooking up meter" at the school's address.

"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.

"All the windows just burst out", she said. Shortly after, there was an enormous blast that thumped him off his feet, he told WCCO, "and afterward it was simply kinda mayhem from that point".

Moments after rescuers pulled a critically-injured man away from the debris, burning gas made it too risky to search for any others. As soon as I turned the corner, you could see the daylight, and I knew, you know, there's something wrong'. He graduated from Minnehaha Academy in 1953 and sent his own kids there before returning himself after retirement.

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