MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A long-time school employee with a welcoming smile was one of two people to die in Wednesday’s explosion at Minneapolis’ Minnehaha Academy.

Ruth Berg was engaged to be married this fall. The school says the receptionist, who worked at Minnehaha for 17 years, was always willing to go the extra mile.

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Ruth Berg (credit: CBS)

As people watched crews work through the rubble, childhood friend Liz Videen felt like she needed to see where Berg spent her final hours.

“It’s terrible, I couldn’t, I couldn’t believe it, I still can’t believe it,” Videen said.

Being there only made this tragedy more real.

“I guess I was glad that only one person died, but when the one person that died is someone you cared about it’s too many,” Videen said.

Berg, known to some friends as DeeDee, always had a smile for friends and students.

The aftermath of the explosion (credit: CBS)

She was planning to marry Mark Burrington in October. His brother, Jeff Burrington, told WCCO that her fiancé heard the blast and went straight to the school.

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He waited for hours in anguish, only to learn he lost his love.

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“She was a nice girl, she was friendly, outgoing, loved life,” Jeff Burrington said.

Emergency crews transported victims to Hennepin County Medical Center, where doctors treated nine patients, including other administrative staff members.

Mark Burrington (credit: CBS)

“[The victims had] the kind of injuries you would expect from a blast explosion. Fractures, lacerations, head injuries,” said Dr. James Miner.

One of three brought in critical condition was Minnehaha Academy employee Bryan Duffey. He is a custodian and assistant soccer coach. Others with more minor injuries were treated on scene.

The body of another long-time school employee, John Carlson, was discovered by crews in the rubble late Wednesday night.

Berg leaves behind an adult daughter.

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Four patients are still being treated at HCMC as of Wednesday night.

Jennifer Mayerle