Disasters & Accidents

Gas explosion in Baltimore kills 1, levels homes

Washington, Aug 10 (efe-epa).- One person was killed and five others injured Monday as a result of a gas explosion in Baltimore, authorities said.

The blast occurred shortly before 10.00 am in the northwestern part of the Maryland city 56km (35mi) north of Washington.

“It has been confirmed that we had a total of six people who were transported to the hospital in serious condition with one confirmed fatality at this time,” Baltimore City Fire Department spokeswoman Blair Adams told reporters.

Three homes in the Reisterstown Station neighborhood were completely destroyed and more than a dozen others suffered varying degrees of damage.

“This is a horrendous situation,” Fire Chief Niles Ford said.

Hours after the explosion, more than 200 first responders with K-9 dogs were still searching the site on the suspicion that at least person was trapped under the rubble.

“Our members are continuing to work to remove debris to clear the area to check to see if in fact there are any possible victims that may be involved right now,” Adams said.

The utility serving the area, Baltimore Gas and Electric, said that it sent crews to Reisterstown Station after receiving an alert from the fire department.

“We are on the scene and working closely with the fire department to make the situation safe. Crews are working to turn off gas to the buildings in the immediate area. Once the gas is off we can begin to safely assess the situation including inspections of BGE equipment,” the company said.

The Baltimore Sun newspaper reported that witnesses said they heard the voices of children crying out for help in the minutes following the explosion.

Baltimore firefighters and police were joined at the disaster scene by personnel from other state, municipal and federal agencies.

“We need the entire city to keep praying for this is now a search-and-rescue mission. It’s about human life, everything else is secondary at this point. It’s about supporting our first responders as they try to find actual human people that we know that are in there,” City Council President Brandon Scott said.

Baltimore’s mayor Bernard “Jack” Young was present to oversee the response.

“Just want everyone to pray for these people who have been affected,” he said, adding the city government was working with the Red Cross to find temporary accommodation for the residents forced from their homes.

“We just to make sure that we take care of these people because it’s our duty to make sure that we take care of them,” the mayor said. EFE jab/dr

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