Minnehaha Academy Fatal Explosion: “A Bible Verse Comes to Mind”

People caught in the building talk about what it was like to try to escape before the explosion. Reporter Karen Scullin from KMSP Fox 9 Reports from Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Two people are dead after a gas explosion at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis.

The school’s custodian was pulled from the rubble last night.

Caught in the explosion, a terrifying and surreal moment for those inside Minnehaha Academy when a portion of it blew up.

“Yeah, it felt like somebody pushed you down,” said school accountant, Joel Maart. “Like you got pushed down to the ground pretty good and there’s just dust stuff flying everywhere. Stuff haning from the ceilings…light fixtures and all that.”

Maart was in the office area talking to a colleague when the disaster started to unfold.

“That’s when Kurt ran by, saying ‘get out, get out, there’s a gas leak!'” Maart said. “As soon as I started to take a step or two towards my door, then it just exploded.”

Walls tumbled, windows shattered.

“Kurt said, ‘I’m hurt’. He was hurt,” Maart said. “He was laying down on the floor.”

Holly Nolan was in the school’s kitchen when she was told to leave right away.

“We heard maintenance call to get out,” Nolan said. “Within about 10 seconds from that, we were out of the building and probably within 10-15 feet of the building, the explosion happened.”

Running from the school, feeling the force of the explosion on her back, she briefly stopped.

“When I heard it, I stopped, turned around and looked at it,” Nolan said. “You could just see a lot of smoke and then we kept going.”

For those who made it out, emotions range from sadness to feeling unbelievably grateful to be alive.

“It’s scary,” Maart said. “But a bible verse comes to my mind. You don’t know what a day’s gonna bring forth. You don’t know what’s going to happen on any given day.”


National Transportation Safety Board investigators are looking into what caused the explosion and partial building collapse.

Investigators believe it was caused by natural gas.

The two people killed in the explosion were both longtime and well-known employees.

Ruth Berg was a receptionist and had worked at the school for 17 years.

Her fiance says they were planning to get married in September.

Also killed was 81-year-old custodian John Carlson who worked at the school for 14 years.

He graduated from the academy in 1953.

Assistant soccer coach Bryan Duffey is in critical but stable condition.

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