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Fire Officials Talk About Minneapolis Gas Explosion Response

March 17, 2011 Leave a comment

We want to update you on the actions of area firefighters after today’s explosion and fire in South Minneapolis.

Both Minneapolis and Richfield were called for a reported house explosion and fire at 62nd Street and Nicollet around 8:36 a.m. This KMSP-TV video shows the explosion.

As firefighters were enroute, it was determined that the incident was in Minneapolis, so Richfield Quint 1, Rescue 1 and Chief 1 continued to the scene based on their auto agreement.

Arriving Minneapolis firefighter cordoned off the area. “We began evacuating bystanders and residents,” Assistant Chief Cherie Penn said. A second alarm was called.

The 20-inch natural gas line was sending flames in excess of 100 feet into the air.

The initial perimeter was Portland to Harriet Avenues (East to West) and 54th Street to the Crosstown (North to South.)

In Minneapolis, Richfield Chief 1 assisted with the evacuation of the Cub Food store across the street from the explosion while Quint 1 helped residents along Nicollet Avenue evacuate their homes, according to Richfield Assistant Chief Wayne Kewitsch.

As manhole covers continued to explode on the south side of the incident, Kewitsch said they expanded the evacuations.

Richfield Chief 2, in coordination with the Richfield police, started evacuating to 66th Street. That area contained a number of residential structures and commercial businesses. Crews from Bloomington, Edina and Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) were called to assist on the Richfield side of the incident.

Penn said that the highest gas readings were found to be 80 parts per million.

As the gas was shut off, Penn said that Minneapolis reduced the number of resources on scene. The flames dissipated by 10:30 a.m.

Several vehicles near the fire were damaged and the sign on Cub Food melted from the intense heat.

By 11:05 a.m., residents were being allowed back in their homes surrounding the blast site.

“After being on scene for a little over two hours, only one fire crew was left on scene to assist Centerpoint Energy.”

“Even though I’m in Maryland at the National Fire Academy, I have been in close contact with command staff in Minneapolis as the incident unfolded this morning,” Minneapolis Fire Chief Alex Jackson said in a press release. He was attending an emergency operations training session, with other city staff members.

  • Assignment for Richfield Operations: Richfield Engine 2, Chief 2; Bloomington Engines 1 and 3, Ladder 3 and Chief 1; Edina Engine 81 and Chief 3; MAC Engine 31 and Chiefs 2 and 3

Related:

Video & Photo: Massive Explosion and Fire Rocks South Minneapolis

March 17, 2011 1 comment
Minneapolis Gas Explosion, Minneapolis firefighters, South Minneapolis Fire

Matt Schlenk Photo

An explosion and fire rocked South Minneapolis at the end of rush hour on Thursday. The incident forced street closures, including the Crosstown and Interstate 35W.

The explosion, near Nicollet Avenue and 60th Street, happened just after 8:30 a.m. and the flames subsided about 90 minutes later.

Richfield, Bloomington and Edina crews worked with Minneapolis firefighters to evacuate residents as the flames grew more than 100 feet.

According to the Star Tribune, the incident happened near a CenterPoint Energy maintenance facility.

In several of the YouTube videos that we posted, you can hear the hissing sound from the explosion site. One video was taken 200 feet away and the noise is clear.

Minneapolis gas explosion, Minneapolis firefighter

Matthew Huston Photo

Minneapolis gas explosion

MNDOT Traffic Camera Photo