Hundreds gather to remember victims of Minneapolis school explosion

CBS Newspath

MINNEAPOLIS — Hundreds gathered inside a chapel to shed tears and remember those killed or injured after a gas explosion rocked the Minnehaha Academy Upper School.

Authorities confirmed one of the employees killed was Ruth Berg, who had been the receptionist at the school for 17 years.

“She welcomed everyone with a smile and was always willing to go the extra mile to help our students, families and staff,” officials said.

She was reportedly planning to get married in October.

Several hours later, first responders pulled John Carlson’s body from the rubble. He was a caring individual who always handed out Dilly Bars to the students, WCCO reported.

During the vigil Wednesday night, people passed out Dilly Bars in his honor. The act brought some students to tears.

Despite the sadness and loss, many at the vigil praised first responders for their quick actions. Nine people were taken to the hospital. As of Wednesday afternoon, three were in satisfactory condition, five had been released from the hospital and one remained in critical condition.

Within seconds of the powerful explosion, residents poured onto sidewalks and front lawns, stunned at the burning pile of rubble that moments before was a century old school.

“I was sitting reading the paper and just a huge blast!”

Deborah Dillaway said it felt like an earthquake.

“I used to live in San Francisco and there are two types: one is a short quick one the other is a longer one it felt like the plates were shifting.”

Investigators confirmed gas work near the boiler was being done at the time.

Cleanup work is expected to begin Thursday.