Minnehaha Academy Explosion First Responders Honored

October 25, 2017 07:05 PM

It has been nearly three months since the Minnehaha Academy explosion.

On Wednesday, eight first responders from the Minneapolis police and fire departments were honored for rushing in to help.


The images of Minnehaha Academy crumbling and burning won't soon leave one Minneapolis police officer.

"Will it always be with me? Absolutely," said officer Vicki Karnik.

TIMELINE: Explosion at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis

Karnik was on the scene of the August 2 explosion within minutes.

"I saw the rubble down and a gentleman buried, and I just went to work, didn't even think about it," she recalled.
It wasn't until hours later the seriousness of the situation set in.

"When I got home, my son, who had watched the live coverage ... he hugged me like eight times, and he's a teenage boy. It meant a lot to me," Karnik said.

Minneapolis officer Dean Milner was there, too.

"We came together as one that day, and it was good," Milner said.

The officers were two of eight first responders recognized for their bravery and honored for their service at the Hennepin County Attorney's Community Leadership Awards Ceremony Wednesday.

At the ceremony, their families recaledl the day as well. 

RAW VIDEO: Minnehaha Academy Explosion

"I remember when she came home, I gave her a bunch of hugs because we were happy she was safe," said Karnik's daughter Danielle.

They say the recognition is fitting.

"I think she just really likes helping people and helping the community out," Karnik's son Matt said.

Both officers say they are humbled to be honored, recognizing that in their two and three decades of service it was one of the most unforgettable of days.

"I am a very firm believer in that God puts you where he wants you and gives you the tools, and that's the day we were put there and given what we needed," Milner said.

Two people were killed in the explosion,  and nine others were taken to the hospital.

The school says the demolition of the building could be done by Thanksgiving.


Jessica Miles

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