NTSB Sending Investigators to Minnehaha Academy Explosion Site

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The Latest on the partial school building collapse in Minneapolis that killed two, injured others (all times local):

8:30 a.m.

The National Transportation Safety Board says it’s sending investigators to a Minneapolis school where an explosion and partial building collapse killed two people and injured more than a-half dozen others.

Agency spokesman Eric Weiss said the NTSB team is expected to arrive Thursday at Minnehaha Academy. Investigators believe the explosion was caused by natural gas. Weiss says the NTSB is investigating because it has jurisdiction over gas pipelines.

Minnehaha Academy officials say the blast, fire and collapse Wednesday morning killed Ruth Berg, the school’s receptionist for 17 years. Fire officials said her body was found about 2 p.m. and a second body, believed to be that of school janitor John Carlson, was pulled from the rubble about 8 p.m.

Four people remained hospitalized with injuries, including one in critical condition.

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7 a.m.

Hundreds of people packed a campus chapel to pray and comfort each other at the Minneapolis school where two people were killed and more than a-half dozen others were hurt in an explosion and partial building collapse.

Minnehaha Academy President Donna Harris, who was injured in Wednesday’s explosion and collapse, encouraged those gathered at the campus of the Christian school Wednesday night to trust God and they will get through the ordeal.

The blast, fire and collapse Wednesday morning occurred in the upper school. Minnehaha Academy said the explosion killed Ruth Berg, the school’s receptionist for 17 years. Fire officials said her body was found about 2 p.m. and a second body, believed to be that of school janitor John Carlson, was pulled from the rubble about 8 p.m.

Four people remained hospitalized with injuries, including one in critical condition.

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6:20 a.m.

A contractor that was issued a permit for gas piping and meter work at a Minneapolis school where an explosion and partial collapse killed two people and injured at least seven others says its employees were among the injured.

A statement early Thursday from Master Mechanical Inc. says the company is grateful to first responders and bystanders who came to the aid of the injured, including its employees. The company did not say how many of its employees were hurt at Minnehaha Academy on Wednesday.

The Star Tribune reports that city records show Master Mechanical was issued a permit for “gas piping and hooking up meter” at the school’s address.

Fire officials said a second body was recovered from the rubble Wednesday night. The school earlier said longtime receptionist Ruth Berg died in the blast, and that janitor John Carlson was missing. Officials have not identified the second body.

The private Christian school serves students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

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12:20 a.m.

Cleanup work is expected to begin one day after a deadly natural gas explosion and partial building collapse at a Minneapolis school.

Fire Chief John Fruetel says a second body was recovered from the rubble at Minnehaha Academy around 8 p.m. Wednesday. Fruetel says the medical examiner’s office was working to notify relatives.

The school earlier Wednesday said longtime receptionist Ruth Berg died in the blast, and that janitor John Carlson was missing. At a news conference Wednesday night, Fruetel didn’t specify whether Carlson’s body was the one that was located.

The fire chief says the exact cause of the explosion remains unclear. The state fire marshal’s office is assisting in the investigation.

The private Christian school serves students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.