Minnesota resident Mark Burrington met the woman who would become the love of his life when they were in third grade. He told KSTP that they he and Ruth Berg were each other’s first crush.

When Burrington reconnected with the 47-year-old receptionist a few years ago, sparks flew. The two fell in love, and were engaged to be married in October, according to People magazine.

But all of that changed Wednesday morning.

Screenshot/CBS Minnesota

Berg was at the Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis, where she had worked for 17 years. Her fiancé was at home in the house they shared just blocks away.

That’s when he heard a large “blast” come from the direction of the school.

Burrington ran to Minnehaha Academy. That’s when he saw that an explosion had taken out an entire wing of the building.


Local residents described the explosion as feeling like an “earthquake,” according to CBS Minnesota. Deborah Dillaway said:

“[I] live across the street from Minnehaha Academy, heard the blast, felt the window shake. The dogs were startled and came out 30 seconds later, saw where the building used to be one continuous building now had a gap. I could see sunlight all the way through to the other side.”

Screenshot/CBS Minnesota

Authorities soon determined that the blast was caused by contractors, who had ruptured a gas line as they worked on the school. Neighbors said they could smell natural gas in the air after the explosion.

First responders worked quickly to rescue those injured, but debris and burning gas made the situation “precarious,” according to Fire Chief John Fruetel, People magazine reported. Two people, including Berg, were killed in the blast, and nine others were injured.

Burlington has lost the love of his life. He told KSTP:

“I’m just devastated. I don’t know what to think or feel. I’m just lost.”

The school’s beloved 81-year-old janitor, John Carlson, also lost his life in the explosion.

The community has now rallied around the families of those who were lost. Hundreds of locals attended a vigil held to remember them.

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