MINNEAPOLIS, MN (August 2, 2017) — Covenant leaders are calling for the denomination to pray in response to an explosion that destroyed a section of the Upper School at Minnehaha Academy, killing two people, and injuring at least nine this morning. Officials continue to search for another person believed them to be under the rubble.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragedy. The entire Covenant stands in prayer for the victims, as well as with the entire school community,” Walter said.
The school, built in 1913, is operated by the Northwest Conference of the ECC.
Conference Superintendent Mark Stromberg released a statement, saying, “The Northwest Conference is deeply saddened by the tragic explosion at our beloved school, Minnehaha Academy, earlier today. We ask that Covenant people throughout the country pray for those who were injured, those who are still unaccounted for, and those who have been emotionally shaken by this event. As you can imagine, a number of faculty and administration members, as well as students, who were in the building are deeply shaken by what they experienced. Please pray for them and us as we seek to come alongside those who have been most traumatized.”
Family members said Ruth Berg, who worked as a business office assistant, was killed.
The explosion was first reported at 10 a.m. and was caused by contractors working at the site, officials said.
Officials have reported nine people were injured, three of them critically and four seriously. Firefighters were searching for two people believed to be under the rubble. A third person who was initially reported missing was found outside the building. The Hennepin County Medical Centers says the victims have blunt force injuries, including fractures, broken bones and head injuries. Two of the injured were treated and released.
Covenanter Donna Erickson said the explosion was so powerful, it shook open kitchen cupboards down the street.
According to confirmed reports, a group of about a dozen students were in the gym but were not in the vicinity of the explosion. They were able to exit the building uninjured.