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A natural gas explosion blew the roof off a house Thursday morning in north Minneapolis, but nobody was inside at the time.

Firefighters responded to the explosion at 3500 N. 4th Street about 11 a.m. and extinguished a small fire on a piece of the roof that was still attached to the house. Several houses in the area were evacuated.

The house, which appeared to have no residents, will have to be demolished, said Deputy Fire Chief Alex Jackson.

He didn’t know the source of ignition, but said copper piping for water lines had been removed in the basement.