2 missing after explosion, collapse at Minneapolis school

Emergency personnel move away as a gas fire continues to burn following an explosion at Minnehaha Academy Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, in Minneapolis. Several people are unaccounted for after an explosion and partial building collapse Wednesday at a Minneapolis school, fire officials said. (David Joles/Star Tribune via AP)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Two people are unaccounted for after an explosion and partial building collapse Wednesday at a Minneapolis grade school, fire officials said.

The Minneapolis Fire Department initially tweeted that one fatality was reported in the collapse at Minnehaha Academy. But fire officials haven’t been able to confirm that report, and Assistant Fire Chief Bryan Tyner said they are backing off that statement.

Tyner said three people were rescued from the roof, and another person initially believed missing was found unhurt. He said crews were working to put out a fire in the building and searching for two missing people who may be trapped in the rubble. He didn’t immediately know whether the missing individuals were adults or children.

Tyner said it appears the explosion might have been caused by a ruptured gas line, but that the investigation is ongoing.

Minnehaha Academy is a Christian college prep school, serving students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Even though it is summer break, many students, teachers, and coaches were at the school for sports programs, summer school, and other activities.

The school said in a post on its Facebook page that the explosion only affected the Upper School, and staff inside the building reported hearing a loud noise and feeling the building shake.

Sara Jacobson, executive director of institutional advancement at the school, said about a dozen students in Upper School gym are all OK.

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