By AMY FORLITI and JEFF BAENEN
MINNEAPOLIS — A second body was found in the rubble of a collapsed school building in Minneapolis after an explosion killed a school employee and injured several others, fire officials said Wednesday night.
City Fire Chief John Fruetel said the body was recovered around 8 p.m. Wednesday at the
Minnehaha Academy. Fruetel said the medical examiner’s office is working to notify relatives.
The blast occurred in a utility as students were playing soccer and basketball at the private Christian school, which serves students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, according to fire and school officials.
Contractors were working on one of the campus’ buildings at the time of the blast, which investigators believe was caused by a natural gas explosion, said Assistant Minneapolis Fire Chief Bryan Tyner.
The explosion killed Ruth Berg, a receptionist for 17 years at the school who “welcomed everyone with a smile,” the school said in a statement.
John Carlson, a part-time janitor known for giving Dilly Bars to students, was reported missing. The 81-year-old attended the school as a child, sent his own children there, and was like a grandfather figure to students, school officials said.
At a news conference Wednesday night, Fruetel did not specify whether Carlson’s body was the one located.
Four people remained hospitalized late Wednesday, including one in critical condition, at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, according to the hospital. Their names haven’t been released.
Dr. Jim Miner, the hospital’s chief of emergency medicine, said victims treated from the blast suffered injuries ranging from head injuries and broken bones to cuts from debris.
Aerial video footage of the school’s campus showed part of a building was ripped apart, with wood splintered and bricks scattered about. Windows in other areas were blown out and shattered.
Three people were rescued from the building’s roof shortly after the explosion and fire, Tyner said.
Paul Meskan, who lives across the street, said he was pulling weeds when the blast happened, and he quickly ran over to the school. Meskan…