One school staff member has been found dead and another is still unaccounted for following a natural gas explosion Wednesday at a college prep school in Minneapolis, authorities say.
The body was 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. The private Christian school serves students from pre-kindergarten through Grade 12.
Both individuals worked at the school, according to the Minneapolis Fire Department. No other details were immediately released.
The agency initially said three people were missing, but later said one of them had been found uninjured.
The school released a statement earlier in the day saying all of its summer program students and staff were “accounted for and safe.” The school didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment following Fruetel’s news conference.
Authorities said seven adults are hospitalized, including three with critical injuries.
The hospital’s chief of emergency medicine, Dr. Jim Miner, said the injuries range from head injuries and broken bones to cuts from debris.
Ruptured gas line
Contractors were doing work on the building at the time of the blast, which investigators determined was caused by a gas explosion, according to assistant fire chief Bryan Tyner.
He said earlier on Wednesday that crews were working to put out a fire in the building and searching for the missing individuals.
Aerial video footage of the school’s campus showed part of a building crumbled, windows in other areas blown out and shattered, and bricks and other debris scattered about. Tyner said three people were rescued from the roof of the building shortly after the explosion.
Minnehaha Academy is on summer break, but many students and staff were at the campus for basketball practice, soccer and cross-country activities.
The school has multiple buildings. In a post on its Facebook page, the school said the explosion only affected the “upper school,” and staff inside the building reported hearing a loud noise and feeling the building shake. The academy’s lower school was…