Sunday, 19 November, 2017

Community holds prayer service for Minnehaha Academy

Minneapolis school explosion levels building BREAKING: One dead after school collapses: Several trapped in wreckage as fire breaks out
Theresa Hayes | 04 August, 2017, 01:07

"This is a day of extraordinary heartbreak in Minneapolis", Mayor Betsy Hodges told the news conference.

The school is not in session, but it's unclear how many people were in the building at the time of the explosion.

The school confirmed two administrative staff members were killed.

Among those who were on the upper school campus were year-round staff, girls for summer cross-country practice, and basketball and soccer players.

John Carlson was initially unaccounted for after the explosion on Wednesday, but school officials later announced that the man had been found dead in the wake of the blast. Out of three people who were earlier reported missing, one was found uninjured.

All of the victims are adults, with three in critical condition, four in serious condition and two suffering "very minor trauma", according to the Star Tribune. They suffered injuries ranging from head injuries and broken bones to cuts from debris, according to Dr. Jim Miner, the hospital's chief of emergency medicine. "After retiring from his first career he came back to work at the school", the academy says, calling him "Minnehaha's biggest cheerleader".

Jeff Wagner, a WCCO reporter, tweeted that numerous mourners donned Minnehaha Academy clothes and colors as they bowed their heads in prayer and joined hands in song. The north campus houses the Upper School (grades 9-12) and was the campus affected by the apparent gas explosion Wednesday.

Here's some of what they said.

"We're getting told as we're digging them out that there is gas leaking into the basement, that there is a big drum in the basement and the flames were getting close to us as we nearly had the debris off of him to get him out", police officer Vicki Karnik said of the rescue operation. "We still consider it a rescue at this point; we don't really know we're going to do our best to locate everyone that's unaccounted for". The power went out, windows shattered and glass and ceiling tiles "rained down", she said.

The situation at the Upper School was being managed by Minneapolis emergency personnel, it said. "This private, Christian school sponsored by by the Northwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant church, serves approximately 900 students from the Twin Cities area".

A woman who identified herself as Berg's sister, and who lives in Idaho, wrote on Facebook that she is "trying to hold it together".

As school workers, students and neighbors gathered by the tennis courts in the northwest corner of campus, some Taher employees waited with tears in their eyes to learn the fate of co-workers. Shortly after, there was a huge explosion that knocked him off his feet, he told WCCO, "and then it was just kinda chaos from there".

She was a "friendly face - anyone who called the school would go to her", Mullen said.

"I could see inside a Spanish class".

Also earlier, Mark Burrington confirmed to KSTP that his fiancée Ruth Berg, 47, a receptionist at the school, had been killed.

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