November 29, 2018 10:50 PM
Nearly a week after a suspected gas explosion shook a St. Paul neighborhood, more than a dozen people still can't return to their homes. The blast destroyed a home, damaged 19 others and spewed debris more than 100 feet away.
“It was a very traumatic experience,” said Dean Stuke, who rents out a home on Beaumont Street. “Twenty three windows exploded at one time, a lot of glass and a lot of fright for (the renter’s) young kids.”
The home is directly across the street from where the explosion happened.
He told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he had Lindstrom Restoration board up the windows immediately to keep the family warm. The work, however, is just beginning.
A Lindstrom Restoration crew, an engineer and a Farmers Insurance agent assessed the damage on Thursday morning. In addition to missing windows, there are cracks in the walls and ceiling.
“There are still things that are going to be hidden until you open walls up,” said Greg Palm, a carpenter with Lindstrom Restoration.
More from KSTP:
According to the company’s president, Mike Lindstrom, it could be weeks before the new windows are installed. He said each could cost about $1,000, totaling more than $23,000.
The engineers and insurance agent’s reports have to be finished before the windows can be ordered.
“Now it's a waiting game,” Stuke said. “As soon as we get that we can put the home back together.”
Farmers Insurance told us it is "in the process of working with our customers to evaluate damages, the cause of loss and available insurance coverage."
The Red Cross told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS it’s helping 16 adults and five children.
Repairs could take weeks or even months as property owners work out insurance, get utilities turned back on and the city signs off on work permits.
Six properties, a mix of homes, a church, apartments and businesses have been condemned and utilities turned off as a precaution.
St. Paul Fire Safety Manager Angie Wiese told us those properties had more extensive damage, including ceilings caving in and more extensive cracks. She said the condemned properties need to be fixed within 90 days, or the owners will have to start paying vacant building fees.
As of Thursday morning, Wiese told us only one of those six property owners had pulled work permits.
According to Wiese, 14 other property owners were told on Monday they need to make less significant repairs. She said those who have to replace windows have until just after New Years to do so.
John Lundahl, the man who survived the explosion, remains in critical condition at Regions Hospital.
Updated: November 29, 2018 10:50 PM
Created: November 29, 2018 09:49 PM
Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company