One dead in house explosion, fire in South St. Paul

crews work at the scene
Crews work at the scene of a house explosion and fire in South St. Paul on Thursday morning.
Peter Cox | MPR News

Updated: 2:50 p.m.

fire on a house
Neighbor Janice Thury heard the explosion this morning from her house down the block.
Courtesy of Janice Thury

One person died in a house explosion and fire Thursday morning in South St. Paul.

It happened just after 6:15 a.m. on the 1200 block of Ninth Avenue South — just south of Interstate 494. Fire crews who responded to reports of an explosion found the home fully engulfed, with flames rising above the surrounding trees.

Speaking at the scene midmorning Thursday, South Metro Fire Chief Mark Juelfs said crews found one person dead inside the garage of the home; that person has not yet been identified.

“We are currently going through the rest of the debris field to see if there were any more victims in the house,” Juelfs said.

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Mike Schuno lives directly across the street from the fire scene and told MPR News that he had just gotten up to let his dog outside when the explosion happened.

“I was in the kitchen putzing around and my whole house shook,” he said. “And I thought, maybe somebody’s car ran into somebody’s house?”

Schuno said his dog was at the front door, barking.

“So I went to let her in, I looked across the street and I could see flames coming out, which I believe was the kitchen window. And within seconds, the whole house went up.”

Juelfs said some neighboring homes were damaged by the explosion and fire, but crews were able to limit the extent of that damage and got the fire under control.

The cause of the explosion is under investigation by local officials and the State Fire Marshal.