NTSB: lack of training, documentation contributed to deadly Minnehaha Academy explosion

Two people died, 9 injured in the Aug. 2017 natural gas blast

Sloane Martin
December 03, 2019 - 12:22 pm
Minnehaha Academy explosion

NTSB

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The National Transportation Safety Board has completed its investigation into the deadly gas explosion at Minnehaha Academy in August 2017 in which two people died and nine people were injured.

In its accident brief dated Monday, the NTSB states a lack of worker training as well as documentation for the job contributed.

The report says two workers were removing existing piping when a full-flow gas line at pressure was opened and they couldn't control the release. As they evacuated the building they warned others to do the same when the explosion happened.

Center Point Energy in a statement says it has "made enhancements" to work procedures regarding oversight, documentation and project communications. It's also sending a letter to licensed contractors to "remind them the dividing line between our equipment and the customer's equipment and to emphasize that contractors are not authorized to work on or operate our equipment." This is the statement in full.

The school returned to the campus this school year.

CenterPoint Energy says its reached confidential settlements with the families of Ruth Berg and John Carlson, who died in the blast, as well as Bryan Duffey, who was severely injured. Other litigation is pending.

Eagan-based contractor Master Mechanical Inc. said in a statement to the Star Tribune: “We appreciate the thorough investigation conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board and respect the findings contained in the board’s final report.”

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