Enter DHS — It Was a Gas Leak

Here’s an update on yesterday’s explosion and fire in a Somali neighborhood of Minneapolis:

Investigators from the Department of Homeland Security are on the scene. Fire crews have begun to clear debris from the ruined building at 514 Cedar Avenue South.

Meanwhile, although the gas company had previously stated that there were no gas leaks in the area, investigators are said to consider a gas leak to be the most likely cause.

Earlier today, from the Strib:

On the investigatory front, officials were hoping to enter the building Thursday. The shell of a structure has yet to be cleared by inspectors as safe enough to enter. The chief said it could be days or weeks before a cause is determined.


Ahmed Muse, one of five owners of the Otonga grocery store, said he arrived at the store at 8 a.m. Wednesday. There was what he called “an electrical shock” in the building, and police were called. When he went outside to talk to the officers, an explosion erupted on the second floor, blowing out the windows and scattering glass on the street below.

The grocery served halal meats and was popular among the neighborhood’s many Somali-American residents. Muse said that it had been there since 1998 and that the building was in good shape and had been remodeled last year.

Concerning gas leaks, this is what KSTP-TV reported last night:

Officials said it wasn’t immediately clear what caused the fire. CenterPoint Energy spokeswoman Becca Virden said there were no natural gas leaks in the area. Fire officials tells KSTP reporter Jay Kolls the FBI and ATF are investigating.

But after DHS arrived and the investigators began to clear the rubble, the story changed. According to an updated version of the Strib report:

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.

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.


“Debris removal is beginning this morning,” Assistant Fire Chief Cherie Penn said in a statement issued a couple of hours after daybreak. “Crews will be very cautious and deliberate as they go through the structure.”

This story still smells funny to me.

The photo at the top of this post is one of the earliest shots taken at the scene of the fire. The intense conflagration is obviously on the second floor, in the front of the building, just above the Otanga Grocery. There is almost no indication of flames behind the windows on the ground floor.

But I’m an amateur, so what do I know? Maybe the explosion on the first floor immediately sent flames up a ventilation shaft to the floor above, igniting a bathtub full of kerosene that just happened to be sitting there. Or something similar.

Since 9-11 I’ve been paying close attention to reports of explosions caused by gas leaks. In every case I can remember, the walls of the building exploded outwards, strewing rubble over a wide area.

But what do I know? Maybe the brick walls in this old (1886) building were stronger than in today’s buildings, and were able to contain the explosion within the structure…

In any case, I’ll continue to keep an eye on this story. Any interesting new developments will be posted here.

28 thoughts on “Enter DHS — It Was a Gas Leak

  1. And they haven’t even been inside yet 🙂

    Do not adjust your set, there is nothing wrong with it – the DHS is adjusting you. Stay tuned, and anybody mentioning the word ‘whitewash’ will be sent for re-education. You have been warned!

    (see previous comment(s) for elaboration) S III.

  2. If you are looking for a Deep Government or Dark Planet you might want to might want to check isteve…he stumbled onto a big story about a renegade Sufi cult on the cusp of dominating the Turkish state.

    It’s both hilarious and creepy by turn.

  3. YES. There WAS a gas leak that was caused by the (alleged) BOMB ripping through the building….

    I suppose that the (alleged) bomb-making Muslim terrorists (oops – make that ancient-pedophile-imitating mischief makers) will now sue the infidel gas company for civil damages….

  4. Quote from the posted Strib link:

    “A spokeswoman for the natural gas utility CenterPoint Energy strongly discounted natural gas as a likely cause.

    “We had no natural gas in the area,” said Rebecca Virden, basing her information on CenterPoint’s own investigation and testing in the area.

    If it were attributed to natural gas, Virden added, “the roof would come off, the walls would come out.”

    She offered that if there was a gas involved, “it could be a different type of gas, maybe propane.”

  5. Funny, DHS has no investigators trained or assigned to investigate bombings. The FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Explosives and Real Big Fires (Waco) (ATFE) investigate arson, terrorism, and bombings. DHS certainly knows nothing about gas leaks. That would be your local fire department and your local gas company.

    • Allah Kareem and Alahu Akhbar, the latter not meaning ‘God is Great’ but ‘Allah is the Greatest! The difference is important, EBL. 😉

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  7. Fastest investigation I’ve ever seen.
    What a conclusion! Sounds like magic.
    But then, where there are Muslims involved, there is often magic.
    Yes, the magic Muslims came and now we’re all civilized . . . by fear.

    • “Fastest investigation I’ve ever seen.”

      How many days was it between the reported killing of OBL and the US authorities declaring that “DNA testing” had confirmed that the body was indeed OBL’s? I recall thinking something seemed “fishy” at the time, as I had always thought that such methods of ID of a body would take far longer. If there was already some tissue or blood available that was known to be OBL’s, with which to compare that taken from the dead body, it would at least avoid the need to take samples from several of his relatives for comparisons and to do some guesswork. …. umm …. some statistics ….. estimating the __probability__ that the body really was OBL. Even with a known comparison sample, I would have expected a real scientific report to still give an __estimate of a probability__ and not an absolute ID, since a very close relative of OBL would have very similar DNA.

      Unlike simple blood-matching for transfusions, it is not the sort of lab work one can do in a “field” setting; you need high tech labs and considerable lab time, plus time to transport samples. It just seemed much too quick, and disposing of the body was too convenient.

  8. Quote:
    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.

    Why does anyone report on what “investigators believe?” ???
    Who are they trying to reassure?
    At ground level? The photo seems to contradict such a statement.

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    • Exactly! DHS rushed to the scene to catch Islamophobes, but I bet they found incompetent bomb makers instead.

  10. If hasan’s jihad massacre at Ft. Hood can labeled an act of workplace violence, this bomb explosion can be considered a gas leak. OK? So just leave it alone, keep your head down, and nod in agreement.

  11. From what I know of gas explosions, and that knowledge is very limited, the initial blast will only be contained within an area, such as a room that has no soft openings, like doorways or windows, that would then cause the explosion to blow the walls out. Looking at that building there are several windows on the second floor that appear to have been blown out which would be expected following a gas explosion, or any explosion for that matter. The windows of course being the soft exit point for the force of the explosion.

    The fire is the problem though; because when gas explodes it is generally set off by some kind of ignition, such as a spark or a naked flame. When gas explodes it is because of the build up of gas within a given area that causes the space within that area to become highly inflammable. When the explosion occurs it is generally of such magnitude that the blast will also extinguish the ignition point.

    From the depth of that fire I would consider an accelerant has been used to cause the initial blast which has been of sufficient volume to not be blown out and to continue burning.

    Gas explosion? Maybe, but more likely an explosive device has been used along with an accelerant to cause the fire.

  12. A friend of mine in MPD just emailed me and stated that the MPD are looking for a few skinnies to have a chat with as per directed by the Fibi’s. The plot thickens.

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