An explosion believed to be caused by natural gas leveled a house in St. Paul, Minnesota, seriously injuring one man and leading authorities to condemn all the structures on the block.
The Nov. 23 explosion remains under investigation, but officials said that the blast may have been triggered by a natural gas line. Some residents reported the smell of gas, according to ABC Eyewitness News Chicago.
Responders to the scene of the explosion found 80-year-old John Lundahl among the debris. Officials told WCCO CBS 4 Minnesota that Mr. Lundahl’s feet were sticking out of the rubble and he was conscious and speaking when he was removed from the debris.
Mr. Lundahl was hospitalized with significant burn injuries to his face and hands, a broken pelvis and arms, and multiple bruises and lacerations.
The owner of a nearby business was also taken to the hospital as a precaution for displaying symptoms of shock, Deputy St. Paul Fire Chief Dave Berger told the Associated Press.
The explosion, which was captured on film by a surveillance camera on the same street, forced the evacuation of people from the surrounding area and displaced 11 people and pets. Video of the explosion shows a giant ball of fire blowing the roof and walls of the house skyward at 8:32 in the morning.
Some of the businesses outside the block where the explosion occurred remain closed until structural engineers could inspect them for damage.
Xcel Energy, which owns and operates the gas pipelines in the area, has turned off the gas feeding structures on the block and surrounding area. In a statement, the company said:
“Our thoughts are with the residents affected by this incident. We are working with fire officials and emergency responders on the scene, and our emergency responders have completed safety checks of the area to confirm it is safe. We will coordinate with fire officials on the investigation into the cause of the incident. Protecting the safety of the public and of our employees is a core value and we take it very seriously.”