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Explosion Damages S.Dakota School

November 18, 2000

PLANKINTON, S.D. (AP) _ A propane explosion heavily damaged a high school in southeastern South Dakota Friday evening, police said. Injuries were reported, but the number of injured wasn’t immediately known.

Authorities said the explosion was reported at about 7:20 p.m.

Marlene Haines, a police dispatcher in nearby Mitchell, said firefighters from several departments were at the site.

``They do have some injured,″ Haines said. ``How many or the extent we’re not certain of.″

Radio station KORN reported that authorities had said two people were flown to a hospital in Sioux Falls.

Station KMIT reported that an unidentified school official apparently remained trapped in the structure. The station said authorities believe the explosion happened in the boiler room in an old part of the building.

The school appeared to be heavily damaged and was still engulfed in flames at about 10 p.m., said Rhonda Lautt, who lives a block away. Lautt said she felt her house shake from the explosion.

``I was out in my kitchen, and I can see the schoolhouse ... and it’s still burning,″ she said.

The glow from the blaze was visible for miles, radio stations reported.

Aurora County officials did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Plankinton is about 90 miles west of Sioux Falls.

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