2 dead after explosion at Minneapolis school levels building

Last Updated Aug 2, 2017 6:42 PM EDT

MINNEAPOLIS — Two people are dead after an explosion at a private school in south Minneapolis Wednesday, CBS Minneapolis reports.

School officials confirmed that two Minnehaha Academy staff members were killed in the explosion: Ruth Berg, 48, and John Carlson, 81.

School officials say Berg worked as a receptionist there for 17 years.

“She welcomed everyone with a smile and was always willing to go the extra mile to help our students, families and staff,” officials said.

Her fiancé told Mayerle he had just been informed. She was supposed to have been married in October.

Nine people were taken to Hennepin County Medical Center. Most suffered broken bones and head injuries from flying bricks and debris.

By late Wednesday afternoon, one of the victims — Bryan Duffey — was still in critical condition. Duffey is an assistant soccer coach at the school.

Three other victims are in satisfactory condition, and five were discharged from the hospital.  

An explosion leveled a building at a school in Minneapolis on Wed., August 2, 2017.

Mary McGuire / CBS Minnesota

Three people were rescued from the top of the building, CBS Minneapolis reports. Emergency crews were going through the rubble by hand and more teams are coming in with bigger gear to lift heavy rubble.

The explosion was caused by a natural gas leak as contractors were doing work on the building, Tanner said.

Helicopter footage showed flames and wreckage in the middle section of the building. The fire was put out by early Wednesday afternoon.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said the state was in touch with local authorities to assist in the response. He said the state will “provide any and all resources necessary to aid first responders” and those affected by the blast.

Allison Schmitz, whose child attends Minnehaha, told CBS Minnesota’s Mary McGuire that people were given 15 seconds to evacuate after a gas leak.

Jack Mahler was playing soccer nearby at the time of the explosion.

“We heard…

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