Two dead, nine hurt in US school explosion

Two people have been killed and nine others injured after a gas explosion ripped through a private school in Minneapolis on Wednesday, starting a fire and causing a building to collapse, authorities said.

The body of a school employee who had been missing for most of the day after the 10:20 a.m. local time(19:20 Gulf Standard Time) blast at Minnehaha Academy was recovered at about 8 p.m., Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel told a news conference. Fruetel declined to identify either victim pending notification of the next of kin.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that the remains removed earlier in the day belonged to Ruth Berg, a 47-year-old receptionist at the school who was engaged to be married.

Family members earlier told local news channel KARE that John Carlson, an 81-year-old custodian, was missing and that no one had been able to reach him.

The nine people who were injured were taken to local hospitals, and one was in critical condition, Fruetel said.

Authorities said there were early indications that a ruptured gas line may have led to the explosion and that it was caused by contractors working at the school. The academy confirmed on its Facebook page that there had been a gas leak and explosion at its Upper School.

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

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said on its Twitter feed that its agents, fire investigators and trained canines were at the site of the explosion.

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