Minnehaha Academy soccer coach remains critical after gas explosion

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Coach Bryan Duffey

The Minnehaha Academy community is praying for the healing of assistant soccer coach Bryan Duffey, who remained in critical condition Thursday morning following Wednesday’s gas explosion and building collapse.

“This morning our prayers are with Minnehaha's facilities team member Bryan Duffey and his family. We pray for his healing and for the wisdom of the doctors and nurses caring for him at this time,” the school said in a statement. “Our hearts and thoughts are with all of those in the Minnehaha Community. We continue to pray for the families of John Carlson and Ruth Berg. We are thankful for the outpouring of support from emergency responders and members of the community. Thank you”

The explosion at least partially fueled by a natural gas leak at the Minnehaha Academy Upper School in Minneapolis killed two staff members and sent nine more people to the hospital with injuries of varying severity. Duffey remained in critical condition Thursday and HCMC confirmed two others remained hospitalized in “satisfactory” condition. FULL REPORT

A few hours after the explosion, Minnehaha Academy confirmed receptionist Ruth Berg died as a result of her injuries, leaving a heartfelt goodbye message to the first person everyone saw when entering the school. She had worked at the private Christian school for 17 years.

"As our receptionist, she welcomed everyone with a smile and was always willing to go the extra mile to help our students, families and staff," the school said in a statement. "She will be greatly missed."

After almost 12 hours of searching for custodian John Carlson, Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel confirmed they had located his body near the original blast site. Search and rescue teams spent most of the day hoping that pile contained enough void space for Carlson to have survived, though ultimately firefighters found his body just after 8 p.m. next to the spot where Berg was found hours earlier.


A “Humans of Haha” story in the school newspaper last year profiled Carlson, who was known for handing out Dilly bars to students and always saying “hi” in the hallways. He graduated from Minnehaha Academy in 1953 and sent his own kids there before returning himself after retirement.

Just a few hours after the initial blast, officials confirmed that contractors working on the building had ruptured a gas line that fed the explosion and subsequent fire near the building’s boiler room, prompting an evacuation effort that was already underway when the explosion happened.

First responders: 'Sometimes you feel a little helpless'

Running to help: Off-duty deputy aids in rescue efforts at Minnehaha Academy explosion

Permits filed with the city of Minneapolis show Master Mechanical was issued a permit for gas piping work at the school on June 7.