MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – An explosion blasted inside an Excelsior home Monday afternoon, engulfing the home in flames, authorities said.
The explosion occurred around 3:55 p.m. in a house located on the 100 block of Lakeview Avenue in Excelsior, just southwest of Lake Minnetonka’s Echo Bay, Hennepin County authorities said.
Norma Onstad said she was on her way to her daughter’s house to check on her family’s dogs when she saw police speeding by toward the burning house.
“Two police passed me on my way over,” she said. “I didn’t know they were coming here …. Up on the corner there, I saw the flames, and I said that’s got to be Scott and Michele’s house. What a horrible feeling.”
No one was in the house, which is home to Scott and Michelle Schmitt and their six children, when the explosion went off, authorities said.
But when the Schmitts arrived at the scene, they said their five black Labrador retrievers were in the house when it exploded. Only one dog, a puppy, survived.
The Schmitts said their black lab gave birth to puppies on Friday.
The house, which the Schmitts call their dream house, had nearly been standing two years before the explosion left it charred and broken.
“They designed it and built it all on their own,” Onstad said. “It’s a real tragedy.”
According to neighbors, this is the second time in five years that a house has burned down on that particular lot of land. Neighbors also say they heard multiple explosions come from the house; authorities say there was only one.
Crews from several fire departments responded to the explosion, which is still under investigation.