Explosion levels vacant house in north Minneapolis

  • Article by: TERRY COLLINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 27, 2008 - 5:35 AM

A house on the 3200 block of Colfax Av. N. exploded late Wednesday, damaging two adjacent houses, also vacant.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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No injuries were reported after a house exploded in north Minneapolis late Wednesday.

Two adjacent houses, both vacant, were damaged from the blast shortly after 9 p.m. on the 3200 block of Colfax Av. N.

The one-and-a-half story house was vacant, said Minneapolis Deputy Fire Chief Harold Breffle. At least eight fire crews were on the scene about 9:30 p.m. About 40 minutes later, a small fire still burned in the debris.

Fire and gas utility crews were expected to remain at the scene through most of the night. The cause of the blast has not been determined, Breffle said.

Traffic was briefly blocked along Lowry Avenue because debris from the leveled structure littered the area.

Many residents who live nearby said the blast was heard and felt from several blocks away.

"I thought it was the boiler in my basement," said Michael Little, who lives in a building across the street from the ruined house.

Little said his friend had moved out of the house last week and he speculated that the blast might have been caused by somebody trying to steal copper piping from the house.

Deborah Shaw, who also lives across the street, said the impact shattered her basement windows.

Her daughter, Dinah Shaw, holding her month-old son, said she thought she smelled gas earlier in the evening.

Both said it was fortunate that nobody was hurt.

"Lucky? Yeah," Dinah Shaw said. "Blessed is more like it."

Terry Collins • 612-673-1790

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  • Fire and gas crews were expected to stay at the scene through most of the night.

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