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Tributes continue to pour in for beloved school staffers killed in explosion

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the families of Ruth Berg and John Carlson.
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Family and friends have been sharing stories about the Minnehaha Academy staff members tragically killed in Wednesday's suspected gas explosion.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to raise money for the families of Ruth Berg and John Carlson, as tributes have flooded in for a pair that "illuminated the school with kindness and love."

The page, which has raised more than $3,000 in just a day, mentions how Berg was "always smiling and ready to help anyone," and how Carlson would pass out Dilly Bars to students "just to brighten their days."

Earlier this week, Minnehaha Academy remembered 47-year-old Berg, a receptionist for 17 years, as a "hardworking mom who rarely let students pass her desk without a high-five."

It also said the 81-year-old Carlson became a janitor out of his "love of the school" both he and his four children attended.

Families devastated

Berg was due to be married next month to Mark Burrington, who ran into the building to look for his fiancee after the blast, and described his utter devastation over her death to FOX 9 on Thursday.

“She’s a kind, loving person. I don’t know what to do without her," Burrington told the TV station. "No idea. Every day that I plan for the rest of my life, she’s in it. I can’t believe it."

Meanwhile, WCCO spoke to friends of Carlson's, who said he wasn't even supposed to be working until 3 p.m. on Thursday.

“Barbara [Carlson's wife] told me that he was not supposed to be there yesterday,” Cheryl and Bill Hunstock told WCCO. “He was supposed to go in at 3 o’clock, but John went in early a lot.”

Cause under investigation

The cause of the explosion is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, which said its preliminary findings indicate the explosion occurred while a gas meter was being moved.

Berg and Carlson were among those in the area of the building blown apart when the gas ignited.

Another staff member, 26-year-old custodian and assistant soccer coach Bryan Duffey, remains in a critical condition in the hospital.

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