MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Inside the school: What happened?
Sara Jacobson was among several members of the Minnehaha Academy staff was inside the building. She described the explosion as "very loud" and said ceiling tiles were falling and windows were imploding.
It's unclear how many people were inside the building at the time of the explosion. Jacobson said about a dozen children were in the gymnasium at the time of the explosion, but those students are accounted for and can be picked up by their parents or guardians. Jacobson said Minnehaha Academy students participating in summer camps and programs use the Lower School campus, which was not affected by this incident.
A basketball coach who was in the gym with about five girls at the time of the explosion described the incident.
"We just heard a loud explosion and got out as quickly as possible. It sounded like a large door slam, but at the same time the lights went out and the ceiling started falling."
Minnehaha Academy initial statement
"There was a gas leak and explosion at the Upper School," Minnehaha Academy said in a statement. "Emergency responders are on the scene. This only affects the Upper School. If you need to pick up a person from the school, pick up on Edmond Blvd. We will keep you informed as we learn more."
An alumni started a GoFundMe page to help the school in its rebuilding efforts, hoping to raise $250,000. If you are interested in finding out more, click here.
Response to gas explosion
Minneapolis Fire Assistant Chief Bryan Tyner said contractors were doing some gas piping and hooking up a meter. It appears the gas leak came from the boiler area. Permits filed with the city of Minneapolis show Master Mechanical was issued a permit for gas piping work at the school on June 7.
About the Minnehaha Academy Upper School
The Minnehaha Academy Upper School is located at 3100 West River Parkway in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis. The Upper School is home to grades 9 through 12. Varsity fall sports practices and faculty orientation is scheduled to start Aug. 14 and the school year is scheduled to begin Aug. 23.
Mayor: 'Hold everyone at Minnehaha Academy in your hearts'
Today, my heart and the hearts of the people of Minneapolis are with the students, staff, and families of Minnehaha Academy. They and the school are a deeply valued part of our city and our community, particularly the Longfellow neighborhood. This is a terrible, tragic moment for them, and for all who care about them--and we all do. I am on site and will continue to share updates from here as we get them. For now, please hold everyone at Minnehaha Academy in your hearts.
Statement from Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton
"My office is in continuous contact with the City of Minneapolis and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, as emergency personnel respond to this emergency. The State will provide any and all resources necessary to aid first responders in their efforts to ensure the safety of all those impacted by this morning's explosion. I thank the many firefighters, paramedics, and law enforcement officers who rushed to the scene this morning, and who are working still to ensure the safety of our children, adults, friends, and neighbors."
Statement from Master Mechanical, company working at Minnehaha Academy at the time
Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the incident. We are monitoring the situation and at this time we are referring all questions about the event to the Minneapolis Fire Department out of respect for their investigation.