BALTIMORE -- A major gas explosion ripped through three rowhomes in the Reisterstown Station neighborhood in Northwest Baltimore, killing one woman and seriously injuring at least six others.
Windows shattered, doors shot off their hinges, and bricks rained across the street as people scrambled to escape the wreckage of the blast just before 10 a.m. in the 4200 block of Labyrinth Road, just behind the Reisterstown Road Plaza shopping center near the city-county line.
The exact cause of the explosion was not immediately clear. Rescue crews pulled a woman from the rubble just before noon and freed another man around 12:15 p.m., according to the Baltimore firefighters union.
Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. said the utility's crews had "found no current readings of gas" when they canvassed the neighborhood. But BGE shut off gas and electric service to ensure the scene was safe at the Fire Department's request, officials said in a statement.
"Once fire rescue is complete, we will begin the process of working with the Fire Department to investigate BGE equipment in the area," the BGE statement said.
The utility company and the fire department will conduct inspections of homes "in a wide area to ensure there is no additional damage," BGE said. The inspections will look at the gas mains, service piping leading to properties and gas meters, as well as customer-owned appliances and piping.
"In addition, BGE is reviewing records for this area, including any reported gas odors, recent inspection results and repairs," the company said.
Few details were public about the victim or survivors as rescuers continued to search the debris throughout the day Monday for others, fire officials said. Officials did not provide ages of the people who were rescued, but witnesses said they heard children calling for help after the blast.
"This is a horrendous situation," Baltimore fire Chief Niles Ford said.
A University of Maryland Medical Center spokeswoman confirmed three men were being treated for injuries from the gas explosion at the hospital. One was in critical condition, one was serious and one was in fair condition, spokeswoman Lisa Clough said.