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Body found after house explodes in Twin Cities area

Associated Press

CORCORAN, Minn. — A body presumed to be that of a 43-year-old man was found Wednesday after an explosion destroyed his family’s large house in a semi-rural area west of the Twin Cities, officials said.

The body pulled from the wreckage wasn’t positively identified, but police said the homeowner, Daniel Johnson, was the only person known to have been in the house when it exploded Wednesday morning.

Johnson’s wife and 2-year-old child had left the house Tuesday night due to what she told police was a "furnance smell," but Daniel Johnson stayed behind.

Police said the couple traded cell-phone messages about 7 a.m. Wednesday. Twenty minutes later, an explosion and fire flattened the 4,400-square-foot house. Dan Johnson’s charred pickup was found in the rubble. All that was left standing was part of a fireplace.

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The cause of the explosion was under investigation, though Rick Kleis of the state fire marshal’s office said he believed something ignited propane gas, causing the blast and subsequent fire. A propane tank was more than 50 feet from the house and fed the fire until a firefighter turned off the gas flow, he said.

Authorities said the family moved into the house last month and were renovating it.

The furnace was not working, so a propane company was called around 10 p.m. Tuesday to fill the tank. Someone was supposed to come over Wednesday morning to inspect the furnace.

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