Minneapolis school building collapses after explosion caused by suspected gas leak

Two people are unaccounted for after an explosion caused a school building to collapse in Minneapolis this morning, the Minneapolis Police Department said.

The explosion at Minnehaha Academy set the building on fire and the flames were being fed by a ruptured gas line, according to police. Early indications are that this may have been caused by a gas leak, police said.

The fire has since been put out, police said, and crews are searching for the two unaccounted for people.

Five people were taken to the hospital and one person was in critical condition, police said.

Three individuals were rescued off the roof, police added.

The Minneapolis Fire Department initially said one fatality was reported but later said the fatality was not confirmed. At 1 p.m. ET, the police said at a press conference that at this point there are no fatalities.

KSTP
The Minnehaha Academy collapses in Minneapolis, Aug. 2, 2017.

Police said it’s unclear how many people were inside at the time. Authorities added that it was fortunate that this incident did not occur during the school year, while students were in class.

ABC affiliate KSTP reported that Minnehaha Academy said in a statement that there was a gas leak and explosion at its Upper School, and that only the Upper School was affected.

One father told KSTP he was in the school counselor’s office ahead of the incident with his daughter and wife. He said someone came into the office and told them there was a gas smell and everyone needed to get out.

His daughter got up to start exiting through the hallway, and “just seconds after that” was “a huge explosion,” he told KSTP.

“It was a large, huge, ‘boom,'” he told KSTP. “One of those movie scenes where you kind of start shaking and it knocks you off your feet. It was pretty intense.”

“Stuff started falling out of the ceiling. Kind of rocked my daughter and she fell back into the building,” he told KSTP. “From there, people were in panic. We heard a lot of screaming,” and the glass blew out in the office, he said.

They exited the building out a back door, and that’s when he saw how severe this was, he told KSTP. He called this a close-knit community and said he ran back in to try to find anyone hurt. Some parts of the building were completely blocked by debris, he said.

He said his wife and daughter were scratched up a little bit, but were otherwise OK.

“We’re blessed,” he said. “This could’ve been a lot worse.”

A neighbor told KSTP the…

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