Fiat Lux — 514-510 Cedar Avenue South, Part IIB

Our English correspondent Seneca III has applied his analytical abilities to photographs of the building at 514 Cedar Avenue South, Minneapolis, before it exploded, burned, and was demolished.

This is the third of four parts. Part II had to be subdivided into A and B. Previously: Part I, Part IIA.

II. Explosions continued
by Seneca III

Part IIB — Structural Damage & Debris Fields

(Click on photos to enlarge)

(a) Structural damage

An appreciation of the state of the external fabric of the building would be useful (as the building was in 2011, that is, when the Street View photos were taken). First the bay windows at and next to the epicentre…

Frame 6: …which are not in the best of condition and hence structurally quite weak.

Frame 6A (1, above)

Frame 6B (2, above)

Frame 6C (3, above)

And secondly the state of the external walls/brickwork.

Frame 7A

Frame 7B

Frame 7C

Frame 7D

Followed by a reminder of the structural damage and the debris field that a gas explosion will do to even a relatively new house constructed according to modern building standards…

Frame 8: … compared with…

Frame 9: …with its minimal debris field and still relatively intact outer structural walls.

(b) Debris fields

Frame 10: Directly opposite the epicentre on the opposite side of the road are six or seven light, probably poorly anchored pieces…

Frame 10A: …from here…

Frame 10B: …and here.

(This would illustrate blast penetration of the first and second partition walls.)

However, this debris may not have travelled even this far on their own as it appears that this side of the road is an open parking area and it is possible that these pieces were cast onto to the sidewalk either by owners moving their cars away from the inferno or by the emergency services in order to give unhindered access to their vehicles and equipment.

Frame 11

Nor is there any substantial debris immediately in front of the building during the early recorded stages of the fire…


…and here where, for the first time, an air-conditioning unit appears on the scene…

…where it was either moved to from immediately below its 2011 location by the fire service for ease of access (note the orange markings on the sidewalk) or from another unit above installed since the original Street View.


1.   This is a very light debris field — not at all of the size normally associated with a gas explosion.
2.   Structural damage to the fabric of the (degraded brickwork) building is limited to blown windows, their (rotting) wooden surrounds and a panel over a door leading to a stairway between the two inner partition walls closest to the apparent point of detonation — this damage is not of the magnitude normally associated with a gas explosion.
3.   Something fishy this way comes…

…to be concluded in Part III — Summary.

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
        3   A Funny Smell in Minneapolis
        4   Applying Occam’s Razor
        5   What the Police and the Gas Company Really Said
        5   Fiat Lux — 514-510 Cedar Avenue South, Part I
        7   Welcome to Minnedishu!
        7   Fiat Lux — 514-510 Cedar Avenue South, Part IIA

For links to previous essays by Seneca III, see the Seneca III Archives.

17 thoughts on “Fiat Lux — 514-510 Cedar Avenue South, Part IIB

  1. SenecaIII, thank you for pursuing this with such detailed analysis. I personally have no training or familiarity with the subject matter, beyond what has been posted online, but remain fascinated due to the (highly questionable ) developing “narrative” presented by officials and a pliable or lazy journalistic media.

    FWIW, photo report provides images which may be useful in further analysis.

    For instance, MPR’s photos #2 & #4 illustrate more clearly the air conditioner on the sidewalk, as well as what appears to be windows with glass which surprisingly remained intact on the wall with the colorful floral art.

    Photo #9 is a post fire aerial view which illustrates the strcture’s internal debris field. Note the significant lack of debris on the furthest right of the images internal structure, where the halal market was located on the ground floor.

    To the untrained eye, this suggests the epicenter of the blast may have occurred above the halal market which is located on the far left @ground level in this photo Where, again, surprisingly, the glass storefront window and glass entrance door appears to remain intact after the explosion/fire.

    Also note the curious bend of the brick wall on the furthest left side of the aerial photo #9. What appears to be the external rain gutters on that side of the building remain straight where the far left side brick wall seems to have pulled away and bent into the structure.
    What do you suppose these structural anomalies images reveal about the blast ?

  2. Apologies for errors above, iPad auto correct issues involved. As I proofread above comment after posting I wanted to also note that the aerial photo of the structure prior to demolition also illustrates the area with the least visible internal debris (where the halal market was located) is still smoldering. Again, to the untrained eye, this suggests the blast/fire was most intense on this side of the building and those residing on the second and/or the third floor above the halal market were directly impacted by whatever the source of the initial explosion was.

    None of the existing reports online have mentioned anything further about one victim who fire fighters suggested exited the building without his legs.

    “The firemen noted how this explosion/fire was unlike anything they had ever seen, that it included a man who apparently went out the window who had no legs, which if he wasn’t already in that condition, suggests that his legs were blown off.”


    “Most of the injuries were from burns and the “trauma of people that came out through the windows,” said Robert Ball, a spokesman for Hennepin County Emergency Medical Services. Officials don’t know whether people jumped out, fell or were pushed out by the explosion.”


  3. The flames in that EARLY photograph of the fire are of a ferocious intensity. Granted that the timber joists and floor boards had had 130 years to dry to a fine combustible state, it even so looks as if there was something else very volatile inside. Is such ferocity normal in an ordinary house fire? An experienced fire expert’s opinion would be useful on this.

  4. We are in the middle of 9/11-style conspiracy speculation.

    Here is another picture of a gas explosion :

    The building is still standing, and has suffered nothing like the Minneapolis building.

    There is nothing predictable about a catastrophic event such as an explosion or a fire. Looking after so-called “scientific” details from pictures is worthless. Catastrophic fires do happen, many of them have an electrical origin, and close to 100 % of them don’t happen because someone manipulated a homemade bomb.

    There are other leads to pursue, much more significant. One of the residents said at the time of the fire that there was “an electrical shock”. Strange phrase. What was that “electrical shock” ? It’s much more likely that the truth can be found by looking into that “electrical shock”, rather than by observing details of the building before the accident.

    • …a9/11-style conspiracy speculation.

      And why is that? Perhaps the huge burden of governmental lies we’re forced to carry every day has taken its toll. It has become the better part of valor to question everything. Given the strong links between Somalis and terror killings, it’s not impossible.

      We have clearly labeled the whole thing as speculation. Speculation has a value, especially when clearly delineated as such. After all, this is a community that recruits for jihadist Americans to go/return to Somalia. IIRC, some of the butchers in the Kenyan mall attack were from Minneapolis.

      You’re entitled to refrain from speculation. However, I am grateful when experienced operators are wiling to look at evidence long-distance and give us an educated guess.

    • Hey Robert, The immediate thought that pops into my mind is maybe the example that you linked to was NOT a gas leak either? Maybe, in good-old-Muslim enriched car-b-que-loving France, another Muslim has been trying and failing to make a bomb? Je ne sais pas….

  5. The Islamic jihadi co-efficient has to be near 100% and a bomb has to be involved. The fact that DHS showed up and covered up with its muslim infiltrators leading the way says volumes. I am reminded of the Oklahoma City bombing of the Federal building. Timothy McVey took the fall but the Islamic jihadi co-efficient was near 100% here as well. The American government cannot be seen as allowing jihadi action in the homeland, so jihadi influence on the bombing was swept under the rug.

    • Thanks for that point. If the DHS had kept its nose out of it instead of grandstanding, the coefficient could have been ignored. They swept into town and blew any chance of this being viewed as within normal limits. Very dumb, very bureaucratic move. An indication – among many others – that the place is over-staffed and under-worked, i.e., they were bored.

      And you remind me how obedient we all were back in 1996 (95?) during the Oklahoma City aftermath. That is part of our burden of government lies.

  6. Food for thought; Any explosion no matter how small will cause some damage no matter how minor. Gas explosions need a trigger before they are set off via a spark, an electrical device or fuse, or a straight out naked flame.

    Gas will not explode if mixed with the air so long as its gas to air ratio is not exceeded, that is, if a gas main ruptured in the street the chances of it catching alight are minimal and the chances of an explosion occurring are almost non-existent. It is only when gas is trapped in a room or some other container and is allowed to continually replace the air in that container or room with gas that it has the potential to become a bomb.

    Those photo’s that Seneca has provided of the aftermath of gas explosions unfortunately do not hint at how long the gas has been able to accumulate within the confined area of the building. My guess is that those explosions have occurred because of the time factor where gas has been escaping into the building or room for some time to the point that the gas to air ratio has been overcome and the bomb potential highly explosive.

    Also, if a gas leak had been the culprit in that building the smell would have driven the residents to report the leak well prior to the explosion. According to this ‘investigation’ there were no prior reports of leaking gas.

    I believe that it is beyond reasonable doubt that a gas leak has not caused the explosion and subsequent fire at 514-510 Cedar Avenue.

  7. This was not a natural (LNG/LPG) gas explosion.

    I believe it was an accidental detonation caused by some idiot terrorist attempting to assemble a detonator for a fuel based bomb of indeterminate size.

    Why do i so confidently say this?

    Well.. That is what it looks like all over. And the press were SURE it was a LNG fire. The local Gas Utility said no this is not connected to us.

    And inportantly the press are careful to avoid the words fuel, accelerant or God forbid…bomb. It is all Gas fire this and gas explosion that..

    Lets look at the video and some photos. What do we see and hear?

    1. The initial explosion was localized and violent enough blow out windows and a large plywood window cover. It was powerful enough to kill or dismember two people.

    2. The resulting fire burned hot for hours and was near impossible to quench with water. If you watch the fire chief on scene talk about the fire he states “There were flames shooting 20 feet out of the 2nd and 3rd floor windows.”

    When kerosene or diesel fuels are ignition heated to vapor point in a confined space the resulting expansion fire will cause a “blow torch” effect where the fire is able to escape. This is something also seen in paint and other petroleum product factory fires.

    Of course this is an apartment…

    3. The color of the flames and the smoke are consistent with a fire fueled by a diesel stage petroleum product like heating fuel kerosene or aviation jet fuel.

    Interesting trivia:
    Mix fertilizer with heating fuel, add a detonation method and you get a cheap and very destructive bomb.

    This is a favored method used by Islamic terrorists world wide. Why? Because it is inexpensive and usually idiot proof.

    If they had mounted the detonator into the bomb before it went off the entire building would have been obliterated. I think the press might have had a harder time explaining that away.

  8. Gas canisters make excellent IED warheads. Calorgas cannisters explode nicely.

    I’m reminded of the Italian Job when Michael Cain delivers the immortal:

    “You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”

    The Self Preservation Society were just practicing with that fireball.

  9. The color of the flames look very different from an ordinary fire of residential contents. all accelerants, and chemicals leave a trace, however will we ever get the whole story or the truth ,from a competent arson investigation? The problem that the liberal establishment does not want to ‘offend’ the ‘followers of the teachings of the prophet’. So once again we are stuck with half truths, BS and a political establishment in a permanent state of denial. Political Correctness (i.e. Marxism) prevails and once again we lose.

  10. KSTP Video interview:St. Paul Fire Investigator Offers Insight on Cedar Ave. Explosion Investigation
    In this video, the reporter reiterates that some of the firefighters on scene stated they had NEVER seen ANYTHING like this explosion, with window frames blown clear across the street. St. Paul’s investigator is nonplused, and compares his departments prior examples in coordination with channel 5 blowing up structures. Although the entire interview appears to support the natural gas leak theory, they provide some clear video images of the burned structure taken from above prior to demolition which may prove useful.

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