MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A day after a massive home explosion on St. Paul’s east side, businesses near the city’s Railroad Island neighborhood are just beginning to assess the damage.
Surveillance video shows the massive explosion that happened at 8:32 a.m. Friday at the intersection of Payne Avenue and Edgerton Street.
John Lundahl, 80, suffered significant burns to his face and hands, as well as a broken pelvis and arm. He underwent surgery Saturday at Regions Hospital.
The impact from the blast will likely impact the area for months. Joe Tel has owned Quick Stop Market for more than two decades. He was on his way there when the explosion happened.
“I see from the highway the fire and the pieces in the sky, and really, I scared,” Tel said.
Fragments of ceiling tile and other debris litter the market’s floor. All of the refrigerated and frozen foods had to be thrown out.
“There’s a lot of damage,” Tel said.
His market has now been condemned by the city, along with a string of other businesses on the block. Tel says the store is his only income.
“We have family, it’s tough,” he said.
Contractors were busy checking homes and businesses Saturday, where the water, electricity and gas has already been shut off.
“Just boarding up the broken windows, that’s it. Securing the doors. We have the board-up contract for the city of St. Paul,” said Dan Johnson of Restoration Professionals.
Neighbors came to take pictures of what was left in the rubble, and homes damaged nearby.
“It’s pretty terrible,” said onlooker Casey Cameron. “I can’t imagine just having everything gone like that. It’s awful.”
People in the area are grateful to be alive. Tel says his shop would have opened at 8 a.m., but they chose to open late at 9 a.m. because of the holiday. No one was at the store.
“Nobody hurt, thanks God,” Tel said. “It’s a bless from God.”
The damage reached as far as a block away, where the explosion blew out a window on the second floor of a home. Meanwhile, the affected businesses remain closed.
Tel says it could be months before he could be ready to reopen.
The American Red Cross is helping the 11 people that were displaced from the explosion.
The official cause of the explosion is still under investigation, but fire officials suspect it was natural-gas related.