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Morgan State student found dead after Baltimore gas explosion; BGE says no leaks found

Wilborn P. Nobles III and Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun on

Published in News & Features

BALTIMORE -- A 20-year-old man was found dead among the rubble of a massive gas explosion in Northwest Baltimore early Tuesday, bringing the number of people killed in the incident to two, officials said.

Workers continued to investigate and clean up the scene of the explosion that also killed one woman and seriously injured at least seven others after it ripped through multiple homes in the Reisterstown Station neighborhood Monday.

The father of Joseph Graham, 20, a rising junior at Morgan State University, confirmed that his body was recovered from the wreckage. The father, who was visibly distraught and surrounded by supporters outside his home, declined further comment. Morgan State also confirmed Graham's death in a statement.

As officials continued to assess the cause of the blast -- a process that could take months -- Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. said that it had found no leaks in an inspection of the homes' gas mains on Monday, and that their data indicated "some type of issue beyond the BGE meter on customer-owned equipment and is currently being analyzed by investigators."

"We are committed to cooperating fully with the investigators in finding the cause of the explosion," the utility company said in a statement.

Five of the seven people injured are in critical condition, said Fire Department spokesperson Blair Adams. Adams said the agency did not have the names or ages of the people who were killed or injured, and would not confirm that Graham was among the victims.

 

Thirty residents utilized temporary shelter after the blast and that around 200 were affected by the explosion. Adams said the displaced residents would not be able to return to their homes Tuesday, but officials were working to bring them back so they could collect their belongings.

Crews remained at the scene Tuesday, sifting through debris and investigating the surroundings as officials continue to look for answers as exactly what caused the blast.

The explosion occurred shortly before 10 a.m. Monday and demolished three two-story row homes in the 4200 block of Labyrinth Road, just behind Reisterstown Road Plaza shopping center near the city-county line.

The three homes that were destroyed Monday are all owned by Leroy and Robin Johnson, of Owings Mills, who did not respond to requests for comment again Tuesday.

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