As I reported yesterday, after the Department of Homeland Security arrived at the site of the Cedar Avenue explosion in Minneapolis, the push for a “natural gas leak” began in earnest, despite the gas company’s insistence that they “had no natural gas in the area”.
It wasn’t long before media stories referred to an alleged smell of natural gas detected by witnesses before the fire. An earlier report from the Strib told us:
Fire Chief John Fruetel said Thursday afternoon that witness accounts of a natural gas smell and the explosion strongly suggest that gas was involved.
And yesterday KSTP-TV said:
In a news conference Thursday Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel said the investigation is focusing on a potential gas type scenario due to witness statements. Witnesses reported smelling natural gas.
Today KMSP-TV reported:
“People who had left the building had made an indication that they may have smelled some natural gas,” Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel said.
I combed through every news story I could find that mentioned the smell of gas, and none of them named or quoted from a witness who said they smelled it. All the reports simply referred back to the fire chief’s press conference yesterday.
The sole account that actually named a witness who talked about a smell (also from KMSP-TV) flatly contradicted the fire chief:
Abdi Quobey said the explosion took out the entire wall in his apartment. He added there was no smell of natural gas before the blast.
The only smell on Cedar Avenue is coming from a thick cloud of official obfuscation.
Meanwhile, one of the two bodies found at the site has been identified. According to KARE 11, one of the bodies is that of 57-year-old Ahmed Farah Ali. Mr. Ali was said to be the roommate of Mrimri Farah, the 60-year-old Iraq vet discussed in today’s earlier post.
According to the same news article, the demolition of the building was completed today. Do you think that will make it any more difficult to determine the official cause of the explosion?
Previous posts about the explosion and fire in Cedar-Riverside, Minneapolis, on New Year’s Day 2014:
|2014||Jan||1||A Fiery Dawn in Minneapolis|
|2||Enter DHS — It Was a Gas Leak|
|2||The Gas Company Says: “No Way!”|
|3||Body #2 Found at Cedar Avenue
Hat tip for KMSP story: Vlad Tepes