At Least 2 Dead After Natural Gas Explosion Rocks Minneapolis School

A natural gas explosion on Wednesday (2 August) at Minnehaha Academy's upper school in Minneapolis, Minnesota killed one person, left one unaccounted for and injured at least nine others, including one critically.

"This is a day of extraordinary heartbreak in Minneapolis", Mayor Betsy Hodges told the news conference.

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.

School administrator Jacob Swanson was in a meeting when the explosion occurred and said he was "praying for the people who might still be in there", the Tribune reported.

School officials also announced that all summer program students "are accounted for and safe". Officials suspect the explosion was caused when a contractor working on the building ruptured a gas line.

Authorities say seven adults are hospitalised, including three with critical injuries. Initially, the department said that one person died in a collapse but later they tweeted that death was unconfirmed.

A "Humans of Haha" story in the school newspaper past year profiled Carlson, who was known for handing out Dilly bars to students and always saying "hi" in the hallways.

All of the people hospitalized suffered from blast-related injuries such as broken bones, cuts from flying debris and injuries to arms, legs, ribs and vertebrae, Jim Miner, chief of emergency medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center, told reporters outside the hospital.

Jacobson, the school spokeswoman, said Carlson graduated with the Minnehaha Academy class of 1953 and went to Sunday school there.

Minnehaha Academy has multiple buildings on its campus. "And [we] got him out, and they got him on a stretcher".

"We just started digging", Mr Meskan said. And it's like, "we're not going back until we get this guy out of here".

Tuition and fees for the school range from about $12,000 for kindergarten to more than $21,000 for a senior in high school. "This private, Christian school sponsored by by the Northwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant church, serves approximately 900 students from the Twin Cities area".

Berg had her entire life ahead of her, including a wedding in the fall. She said those students are OK because the gym was not close to the site of the apparent explosion.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said his office was in constant contact with the school.

- The school says Carlson was Minnehaha's "biggest cheerleader".

Fire teams were hunting down conceivable casualties in the flotsam and jetsam at the tuition based school, authorities said. Another co-worker ran by saying, "get out, get out, there's a gas leak!" As soon as I turned the corner, you could see the daylight, and I knew, you know, there's something wrong'.

The blast knocked him off his feet, "and then it was just kinda chaos from there", he said.

Within seconds of the powerful explosion, residents poured onto sidewalks and front lawns, stunned at the burning pile of rubble that moments before was a century-old school building.