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Pics/Vid: Explosion rocks Minnesota city

A fire engine. (Dreamstime/TNS)
June 22, 2023

A major house explosion left one person hospitalized and three houses damaged in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, Wednesday afternoon.

Star Tribune reported that local firefighters responded to reports of a house explosion just prior to 3 p.m in the 800 block of 104 Avenue NW.

Coon Rapids Fire Chief John Piper said the first firefighters found a man outside with major burns and the house “completely flattened”

“The victim was treated by Allina and transported down to Hennepin County Medical Center’s burn unit in serious condition,” he said.

According to CBS News, neighbors recalled their houses shaking in the wake of the explosion.

“We were sitting outside, me and my daughter sitting outside, and ‘boom!’” Bob Nahl, a local resident said.

Star Tribune reported that the fire from the house explosion caused significant damage to the closest house on the east side of the flattened home, leading Piper to acknowledge that the neighboring house could be a “total loss.”

“While I was doing laundry, there was the big boom and the west end of my house was gone,” Wright said. “There’s only about 6 or 8 feet of the roof left, so everything from there west was destroyed.”

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The house nearest to the west side of the location of the explosion did not receive as much damage; however, the windows of the neighboring house were broken as a result of the explosion.

The cause of the explosion has not been released and the fire remains under investigation by local authorities. Piper indicated that the investigation is likely “going to take quite some time.”

“When you think explosion, I mean there’s a variety of things. Is it natural gas? Is it propane? Is it gasoline? There’s a variety of things that’ll cause stuff like this. But you wanna make sure you have the local gas company involved to assist with their expertise,” he said.

Wednesday’s hot weather required extra help for the local firefighters. Four additional fire agencies were called to the scene, allowing firefighters to rotate while battling the house fire.

“A day like today, you might get 15, 20 minutes out of a firefighter and then he or she needs to take a break and go into rehab,” Piper said.

While the house explosion caused damage to three houses and injured one person, the local neighbors told CBS News that it “could have been a lot worse.”

“I can sit here and bemoan the fact that I can’t get some things out which I’d like to save, but they’re just things,” Wright, whose house was significantly damaged by the fire, said.