Two dead in house explosion, fire in Hopkins

Firefighters work at the scene of a house explosion
Firefighters work at the scene of a house explosion and fire near the corner of Second Street and 21st Avenue North in Hopkins on Wednesday.
Tim Nelson | MPR News

Updated: 6:40 p.m.

Two people were killed Wednesday in an apparent gas explosion at a home in Hopkins.

Fire and rescue crews from across the southwest metro responded at around 10:15 a.m. to the 200 block of 21st Avenue North on reports of a blast that rattled the neighborhood. When firefighters arrived, they found the house engulfed in flames, with debris strewn around.

Hopkins Fire Chief Dale Specken said investigators are still trying to determine the cause.

"It could be anything, any gas appliance that was leaking, anything like if they had a gas stove, water heater, furnace. It could be anything.”

Crews from CenterPoint Energy did not find any gas leaks elsewhere in the neighborhood, indicating that the problem was isolated, Specken said.

Firefighters stand near the scene of an explosion
Firefighters and utility crews examine the wreckage of the house explosion.
Tim Nelson | MPR News

State transportation cameras initially showed a plume of black smoke rising from the area. The fire had been extinguished as of noon, but it was unclear at the time if anyone had been in the home. He said a technical collapse team from Edina searched the wreckage.

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Jeff Mock lives in the home right next to the scene of the explosion.

"I was home and heard the explosion. It shook the whole house and knocked stuff off the walls," he told MPR News on Wednesday afternoon.

Mock said he didn't know what had happened until he looked out the window and saw the wreckage.

An excavator helps fire and rescue crews
An excavator helps fire and rescue crews search through the wreckage.
Tim Nelson | MPR News

Specken, the fire chief, said gas service to the home was turned off after the explosion.

Personnel from the State Fire Marshal's office and the ATF were on the scene Wednesday afternoon, but Hopkins police said they do not believe it's a criminal matter.

The Hopkins Police Department was asking people to stay away from the scene, located just south of State Highway 7 and just east of Shady Oak Road.