Survivors recount experiences in Minnehaha Academy explosion

Caught in the explosion, Minnehaha Academy Accountant Joel Maart experienced a terrifying, surreal moment when a portion of the building blew up.

“It felt like somebody pushed you down, like you got pushed down to the ground pretty good,” Maart said. “There's just dust, stuff flying everywhere…stuff hanging from the ceilings, light fixtures and all that.”

Maart was in the office area talking to a colleague when the disaster started to unfold.

“That's when Kurt ran by saying ‘get out, get out, there's a gas leak,’ and as soon as I started to take a step or two towards my door, then it just exploded,” he said. “Kurt said, ‘I’m hurt, I’m hurt’…he was lying down on the floor.”

Holly Nolan was in the school’s kitchen when she was told to leave right away.

“We heard a maintenance call to get out, so within about 10 seconds from that, we were out of the building, and probably within 10-15 minutes, the explosion happened,” she said. “When I hear it I stopped, turned around and looked at it. And you could just see a lot of smoke and then we kept going.”

One staff member was killed, and one is still missing. Nine people were injured.

For those who made it out, emotions range from sadness to feeling unbelievably grateful to be alive.