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Area near Minneapolis campus evacuated after explosion connected to fraternity house fire

Fire Chief Bryan Tyner said early indications suggest gasoline in sewer system caught fire and blew out the manholes


Photo/Twitter, RobOlsonFOX9

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — Authorities evacuated a portion of the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis on Thursday after responding to reports of a fire and possible explosion.

No injuries were immediately reported.

The Minneapolis Fire Department tweeted about 3:30 p.m. that firefighters were responding to a fire in the basement of a building on campus. As they were extinguishing that fire, they received reports of a sewer explosion that blew manhole covers out.

Authorities were monitoring buildings for natural gas leaks and have evacuated a portion of the campus. The fire department tweeted that the incident was likely a flammable gas spill rather than natural gas in the sewer.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the fire began in the basement of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house. Fire Chief Bryan Tyner told the newspaper that early indications suggest gasoline in sewer system caught fire and blew out the manholes. He said the department and CenterPoint Energy were working to confirm that.

“We don’t want (gasoline) to get in the sewer system,” Tyner said. “We don’t even know how it got there.”

A voicemail message left with the fire department wasn’t immediately returned.

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