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Police say Mankato fire that killed two was no accident

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Police say Mankato fire that killed two was no accident
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (AP)-- The natural gas explosion that touched off a fire that killed a North Mankato couple in their mobile home was not an accident, police and a state fire marshal's investigator said Tuesday evening.


The bodies of Shawn Marxen, 31, and Elizabeth Marxen, 29, were found inside the gutted mobile home at Camelot Mobile Home Park after the explosion and fire early Saturday. Their two daughters, ages 12 and 6, were staying with a grandmother.

Investigators said natural gas was piped into the mobile home.

"It was a natural gas explosion that occurred inside the trailer, and it was found that the fire that accompanied it was not accidental," said Casey Stotts, a deputy state fire marshal investigator who investigated the cause and origin of the explosion.

The couple's "injuries were a direct result of the explosion and fire," Stotts said.

Police said there was no sign of an intruder but would not disclose how the explosion occurred and would not say whether one of the deceased was responsible.

Capt. Chris Boyer of the North Mankato Police Department said people can draw their own conclusions.

"We're not going to say what exactly took place until we're completely finished," Boyer said. Boyer said he expects that could take about two weeks. "There are still people we want to talk to. There are still lingering things out there that we want to look into before we give too much out."

Co-workers at R & R Tire in North Mankato, where Shawn Marxen had worked for two weeks, said he became very upset Thursday afternoon after receiving a text message and was grumpy for hours.

Eric Schmahl, 33, of Nicollet, who had befriended Shawn Marxen 16 years ago over their common interest in cars, said Marxen had been happy in his new job until he got that message.

The next day, 15 hours before the blast and fire, co-workers said Marxen was two hours late to work.

"He wasn't feeling good Friday," Schmahl said. "He was nauseated. ... . He had a headache. He overslept and was a couple hours late. Something was going on."

The couple's funeral was scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Mankato.

Pioneer staff reports