On August 2, 2017, an explosion rocked the Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis. Shocking photos of the scene show a massive chunk of the school completely collapsed, with sporadic support beams rising like towers from the rubble. The explosion killed two staff members and injured several others. School was not in session at the time of the explosion. If it had been, there could have been many more victims.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated the site of the accident shortly after the explosion. According to officials, the cause of the extensive damage was likely a natural gas explosion. The NTSB will continue to investigate, looking specifically at whether the explosion occurred during the moving of a gas meter. The NTSB is known for investigating plane, train and automobile crashes. But pipeline safety is also the purview of the NTSB.
Full reports on incidents like this typically take up to a year to complete.
Devastation from Natural Gas Explosions
One need only to look at the past to see how bad the Minneapolis explosion could have been. For example, in 1937, the New London School exploded in Texas, killing three hundred students and teachers. In Richmond, Indiana in 1968, two explosions (the first from natural gas, the second from gunpowder inside a sporting goods store) killed 41 and injured 150. More recently, in 2012, a natural gas explosion in Springfield, Massachusetts destroyed two buildings, injured 21 and no one was killed.
Natural gas is a volatile substance that is common all over the country. People who work with gas lines have a responsibility to keep them safe and maintained. If they fail in this responsibility, the potential for serious injury and death is high.