A building exploded and collapsed at Minnehaha Academy on Wednesday, and authorities pulled a second body from the debris. After looking in the rubble for an entire day, Fire Chief John Fruetel said that his team had located and extracted the body of 81-year old school custodian, John Carlson – which brought the death toll to 2.
The first body recovered was of Ruth Berg, the receptionist at the school, who was found dead in the rubble. Fruetel announced that the bodies were found close to each other.
There was an explosion around 10 a.m. at Minnehaha’s Upper School. According to reports, a gas leak caused the explosion, while work was being carried on by contractors.
Seven people were admitted to Hennepin County Medical Center earlier, with injuries. HCMC tweeted at 4 p.m. that four people were being treated in the hospital, out of which one was in critical condition, and the other three in satisfactory condition.
The name of the person who is in critical condition is Bryan Duffey – as confirmed by HCMC. Duffey is an assistant coach for the boys’ soccer team, as per the Minnehaha Academy’s website. Five others were discharged after treatment.
An Eagan-based company, Master Mechanical Inc., had been given the work permit by the city of Minneapolis to install gas piping and a meter hook up. After the incident, Master Mechanical sent out a statement saying that they will include the victims of the accident in their thoughts and prayers. They added that they were overseeing the situation and are cooperating with the Minneapolis Fire Department, who are carrying out the investigation.
Philip Day, a survivor, who was with his daughter in the building, reported that a member of the staff had run up to them and asked them to evacuate. And, seconds later, everything blew up.