12 people displaced after home explosion in St. Paul

November 23, 2018 10:20 PM

Firefighters responded to an explosion at a home in St. Paul Friday morning.

The incident occurred on the 600 block of Payne Avenue. According to authorities, the explosion happened just after 8:30 a.m.

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A fire official said one person, identified as John Lundahl, the homeowner, was taken to the hospital with injuries.

“He was speaking when he left. Had some minor burns to his hands,” said Deputy Fire Chief Dave Berger.

He said they believe that was the only person in the house.

Regions Hospital confirmed Lundahl is now in critical condition.

A dog and a cat were also pulled from the rubble alive.

Fire and Xcel Energy crews are investigating the cause, possibly a gas leak.

“At this point, it sure looks that way but without the investigation complete we won’t know for sure,” said Berger. “But I'm pretty sure that's what probably caused this.”

The buildings on either side of the destroyed home are still standing.

“If the fire had gotten going better and the gas hadn't been shot in time and there were gas leaks in other buildings, it could've gotten worse,” said Berger.

Debris was found more than 100 feet away from the home as a result, and 48 fire department personnel from eight different agencies responded to the scene. 

Firefighters worked with Xcel Energy and the city to turn off the utilities and deployed hard lines.

Two neighboring houses and a neighboring business have been condemned. 

Fire officials said 12 people have been displaced due to the explosion, and the Red Cross said it is working with 16 people to find temporary housing. 

KSTP reporter Callan Gray says a three-year-old was hit by flying glass and treated by medics on scene and released.

The explosion shook the neighborhood.

“I heard a big loud explosion and I thought a car had run into the house,” said Carolyn Johnson, who lives a block and a half away. “I just see smoke, all black smoke.”

Myk’Schel Moore was sleeping near her window when it happened, it woke her up.

“I see a big fireball in the sky and I was like somebody trying to bomb St. Paul,” said Moore.

She ran out of her home a block away to see what happened and saw firefighters respond.

“They pulled the old man out,” said Moore.

“It’s a big tragedy, I just hope everything's alright,” said D.J. McDaniels, who was visiting a home across the street when the explosion happened.

 

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Credits

Ben Rodgers, Callan Gray & Brett Hoffland

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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