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Body pulled from site of Minneapolis apartment blast

A body was recovered from the rubble of a downtown Minneapolis apartment building Thursday, more than a day after an explosion ignited a massive fire that injured more than a dozen people.

Mckenna Ewen / AP

Firefighters work the scene where a fire engulfed several apartment units in Minneapolis on Wednesday

Work to demolish what was left of the late 1880s building was abruptly halted and the medical examiner called to the scene after a body was discovered, NBC station KARE in Minneapolis reported.

The body was found about 2 p.m. CT but has not yet been identified, a Minneapolis Fire Department spokesperson confirmed to NBC News.

The cause of the powerful blast and fire, which injured at least 14 people, remained under investigation. Three people were in critical condition on Thursday evening, KARE reported.

Flames from the blaze shot some 20 feet into the air and gutted the Cedar Avenue South complex housing a halal market and apartments next to a mosque. Some residents were rescued by ladders; others jumped or fell from the building.

Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel told reporters at a news briefing earlier Thursday that investigators were focusing on the possibility that the blast was linked to natural gas. Witnesses reported smelling gas and described a fireball consistent with  gas explosion, he said.

At least two people were listed as unaccounted for, Fruetel said before the discovery of the body.

Firefighters battling the intense New Year’s Day blaze had to cope with sub-zero temperatures and wind chills near minus-20 degrees.

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Building explodes in downtown Minneapolis