Details of Lawsuit Released in Deadly Minnehaha Academy Explosion

An attorney representing Ruth Berg's family thinks the gas company is to blame. KMSP Reporter Paul Blume reports from Mendota Heights.

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn — The family of the woman who died in the explosion at Minnehaha Academy is taking action against the gas company.

They claim the company didn’t do enough and were only out to save themselves.

“This is like the most obvious & classic errors that could possibly be conceived,” said attorney Fred Pritzker who represents the family of Ruth Berg.

He has handled a myriad of cases involving gas explosions around the country and argues what happened at Minnehaha Academy on August 2nd is one of the most egregious he has seen.

“There were some horrible and obvious mistakes made including the fact that gas upstream from where the explosions occurred was not shut off before the piping was disconnected,” Pritzker said.

Berg’s daughter and mom are seeking significant financial damages from Centerpoint Energy and its contractor Master Mechanical.

We know that a two-man team from Master Mechanical was in the process of moving the school’s gas meters from inside the building outside.

The NTSB is conducting its own probe, writing in this preliminary report that workers were removing the existing piping when a full-flow natural gas line at pressure was opened and could not be mitigated.

“This is a textbook no-no,” Pritzker said. “You shut off the gas. You make sure the gas line is shut off before doing anything that causes gas to spill into a building crowded with other people.”

The Bergs’ suit blames the utility and the contractor for not informing the school of the dangerous work being done, for not properly shutting off the gas, and for running out once the leak occurred rather than warning others in the building to evacuate.

“So at the last minute, theirs is like this hair on fire, literally, well almost literally and people are running away to save themselves,” Pritzker said.

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