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UPDATE: Fiery Explosion In South Minneapolis

Big Fire in Minneapolis
Flames could be seen from 66th and Nicollet -- blocks away from an explosion in Minneapolis this morning. (Photo: Scott Haiden)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Officials say a fiery blast in south Minneapolis was a natural gas line explosion, and there are no known injuries.

Assistant Fire Chief Cherie Penn told reporters people are still being evacuated from the area, but described it as precautionary.

She says the gas has been shut off.

The blast happened around 8:30 a.m. Thursday, sending flames shooting high into the air in front of a Cub Foods in an area that is a mix of residential and industrial properties. The flames subsided gas line was shut off a little before 10 a.m.

An apartment building and day care near the scene were evacuated, and people inside the grocery store were told to leave through the back. A school was also evacuated.

Mayor R.T Rybak told reporters the situation is as under control as it can be.

The fire led authorities to shut down near Interstate 35W.

Minnesota Department of Transportation spokesman Todd Kramascz  says the freeway will remain closed until further notice because a highway overpass was only about 100 yards from the fire and needs to be inspected.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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