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At least 1 dead in South St. Paul home fire; neighbors say explosions preceded blaze


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    SOUTH ST. PAUL, Minnesota (WCCO) — At least one person is dead after a large house fire broke out Thursday morning in South St. Paul.

South Metro Fire Department Chief Mark Juelfs says the fire, which broke out at about 6:18 a.m., happened at a home on the 1200 block of Ninth Avenue South, near Dale Street West.

Juelfs says the fire was put out relatively quick. He says the back of the home was flattened, and crews are digging through the rubble to look for other residents and evidence of what may have caused the fire.

Neighbors tell WCCO as many as three people could have been inside the home, including a person living with disabilities. They also say they heard several “booms” before seeing the house on fire.

“I was up in my office working this morning and basically I heard a big, loud boom and it shook my house. And so I came running down because I thought a vehicle or something, or something fell out of the sky and hit the house or something,” a neighbor told WCCO. “We heard another loud, huge boom, which then it started the whole house on fire.”

SMFD, the city public works department, the State Fire Marshal’s Office and Xcel Energy are working jointly in the investigation.

Fire officials say there is no gas leak-related danger to nearby residents. Roads in the area are expected to be closed for several hours, and police are asking commuters to stay away from the neighborhood.

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