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Body found after Minnesota apartment explosion and fire

Body found after Minnesota apartment explosion and fire
At least one person appears to have died in the explosion and fire that gutted a Minneapolis apartment complex on New Year's Day. (Glen Stubbe / Minneapolis Star Tribune)

At least one person may have been killed when an explosion ignited a blaze that destroyed an apartment building in Minneapolis, officials said Thursday.

Minneapolis Fire Department officials said they found a body in the rubble on Thursday afternoon and turned the remains over to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office for examination.

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Fourteen people were injured, at least four of them seriously, in the blast and ensuing fire Wednesday morning, which forced some residents to leap out of their windows into the subzero cold to escape the blaze. Some flames reached at least 20 feet in height out of the building's second and third floors.

"The cause of the fire is still under investigation," the fire department said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "While a gas leak could be one potential cause, it could be weeks until a cause is determined and may ultimately be undetermined."

Fire Chief John Fruetel said Thursday that some residents had smelled some kind of gas before the explosion, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

However, a spokeswoman for CenterPoint Energy, a natural gas utility, said the company had "no natural gas in the area," the newspaper reported.

Fruetel said the explosion was likely not due to a bomb.

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