Posted on | January 2, 2014 | 53 Comments
Lee Stranahan pointed out that the Minneapolis neighborhood where there was an explosion and fire Wednesday is known as “Little Mogadishu” because of its largely Somali population. The building where the blast happened is next door to a mosque. Concern about a possible terror connection seems logical, but officials tell the Minneapolis Star-Tribune they believe the explosion was an accident:
Investigators believe that the fire that tore through a three-story apartment building in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood on New Year’s Day was caused by a natural gas leak, according to sources familiar with the probe.
While no final determination has been made, a source close to the law enforcement investigation said that it is believed that the initial explosion occurred at the ground level of the building.
Homeland Security personnel were on the scene in the aftermath of the fire that sent 14 people to hospitals, six in critical condition.
They were there to determine if there was anything suspicious about the explosion. But investigators believe that the description of a fireball and early evidence at the scene match what typically happens in a gas explosion, investigators believe, the source said.
(The involvement of DHS investigators shows how obvious it was to suspect this might have been a terror-related incident.)
In addition to trying to determine the cause, authorities searched the late-1800s building for the handful of residents still unaccounted for a day later. . . .
At least 14 people were injured, six critically in the explosion and fire about 8:15 a.m. Wednesday that destroyed an immigrant-owned grocery store and the 10 apartments above it in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. . . .
Family members and friends reported that three or four others known to have lived in the apartments have not been located and were feared dead. . . .
The building housed the Otanga grocery store. The apartments above it were apparently all occupied by single men, most of them East African immigrants, a resident said.
So far, then, this seems to be merely an accident.