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Gas Explosion Collapses School Building, At Least 1 Dead, 9 Injured: 'Has to Be an Earthquake'

An apparent gas leak caused an explosion at private school, authorities said.  (CBSN) An apparent gas leak caused an explosion at private school, authorities said. (CBSN)

A gas leak caused a massive explosion at a Minnesota school, killing at least one person and injuring nine others when a building collapsed, authorities said.

Firefighters were combing the wreckage at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis Wednesday, looking for one person who was unaccounted for, police said.

"It's just a very precarious situation," Fire Chief John Fruetel told a press conference. "We know that there are probably at least two floors of debris."

Read: Man Faces Possible Amputation After Likely Fireworks Explosion in Central Park Mangles His Leg: Reports

The injured were being treated at Hennepin County Medical Center, with three in critical condition, four in serious condition and two others suffering "very minor trauma," said Dr. Jim Miner, the hospital's chief of emergency services, according to the Star Tribune. 

The private Christian school was rocked by a blast that shook nearby buildings and blew out windows.

“I felt it in my body more than I heard it,” neighbor Taylor Ann Grand told the Pioneer Press. “My first thought was, 'That has to be an earthquake.'"

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Bystanders at the pre-K through 12 school said the smell of gas permeated the area. 

“It had to be a significant explosion that would take out that brick and cause the building to collapse,” said Minneapolis Assistant Fire Chief Bryan Turner during a press conference at the scene.

Two men ran across the school grounds screaming “Gas! Get out!” according to Jack Mahler, who was warming up for soccer practice. The explosion followed seconds later, with flames shooting up from toppled structure, he told WCCO-TV.

The blast knocked him off his feet, “and then it was just kinda chaos from there,” he said.

Watch: Thousands Run for Cover in Fireworks Market Explosion That Left at Least 31 Dead

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