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NTSB Releases Preliminary Report On Minnehaha Academy Gas Explosion

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A preliminary report released Monday is providing new details on the moments leading up to a gas explosion earlier this month that killed two people at Minnehaha Academy.

The incident happened at about 10:22 a.m. on Aug. 2 on the school's north campus, which left it completely destroyed. In addition to the two people killed, nine others were hurt.

The NTSB report says two workers were installing new piping to support the relocation of gas meters from the basement of the building to the outside. Two new meters were mounted on a wall and were ready for the new piping to be connected.

Workers were removing the existing pipe when a full-flow gas line at pressure was opened. The workers were not able to mitigate the gas pressure, so they got out of the building.

NTSB officials say a school maintenance worker heard and smelled the natural gas, and went to the basement meter room where the workers had been. He quickly left the basement and got on his hand-held radio to announced there was gas in the building and to evacuate immediately. He then ran up the stairs and searched for people in the building.

School was not in session at the time of the explosion, but there were a small number of people there for summer activities. Ruth Berg, the school's receptionist, was killed in the blast. School custodian John Carlson also died.


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