BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Condolences poured in following a deadly explosion in northwest Baltimore Monday morning.
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Baltimore City fire officials said a woman was killed and at least seven others were injured. Crews are searching through the rubble for any additional victims.
Baltimore City Mayor Jack Young and other city officials arrived at the scene and spoke with reporters shortly after noon. He said he just wants to offer his prayers to the community.
"All I want to say is I just want to offer my prayers to all of the people who lived in these houses and the surrounding community, I just want to offer my prayers that everyone turns out safe," the mayor said.
Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott said the city needs to remain hopeful.
"This is a tragedy. What we need for Baltimore to do right now is pray, pray that we're able to find folks, pray that we're able to get these folks out of there you can see the devastation that this has caused for the community, you can imagine the pain and frustration that folks are feeling," the city council president said.
Scott thanked first responders, city officials and other responders coming in from the surrounding area working to get people out of the rubble.
"Right now this is just something that we all have to be hopeful that they continue to work that we're able to get more people out of there," he said.
BGE received the initial call from the Fire Department at 9:54 this morning. They updated their statement Monday night as they continued to investigate.
BGE is grateful for the prompt and skilled response by the Baltimore City Fire and Police Departments and responding BGE crew members.
Our thoughts and prayers remain with those injured and the family members of the deceased. This remains an active emergency recovery effort led by the Fire Department.
Public safety is our first priority. Our crews have now inspected the Labyrinth Road gas main and canvassed all surrounding buildings. No gas readings were found in any of the buildings and no leaks were found on the Labyrinth Road gas main or services. Our crews are continuing to inspect area gas mains and services for safety and will make any necessary repairs if any issues are found.
All gas service is off to a portion of the 4200 block of Labyrinth Rd. This is a standard safety procedure to aid in emergency response efforts and to ensure safety. Some electric lines in the area were damaged and crews have repaired those lines to restore power to all nearby residents who lost power.
The cause of this morning's explosion is currently unknown and we will be working with the Fire Department to investigate. BGE is committed to fully understanding the cause of this incident and will inspect all BGE equipment once rescue efforts are complete. This is an active investigation and we cannot speculate on the possible causes.
Our records indicate the following:
- This area's gas infrastructure was installed in the early 1960s.
- No gas odors were reported prior to this morning's event and BGE did not receive any recent gas odor calls from the block of homes that were damaged.
- BGE's most recent inspection of the gas mains and services in the area occurred in June and July of 2019 and did not identify any leaks.
Once again, we thank the emergency responders and we are committed to working with them to determine what occurred. Our thoughts and prayers are with those injured and the family members of the deceased.
City officials are working with the Red Cross to provide support to displaced residents in the coming days.
Meanwhile, other officials across the state are offering their support as the city continues its response.
Gov. Larry Hogan said they are "closely monitoring the situation in northwest Baltimore and they are offering their full support to the ongoing response and recovery efforts.
He released a full statement later Monday afternoon:
"This morning, an explosion destroyed three homes in the Reisterstown Station neighborhood in northwest Baltimore. First responders are still performing rescue operations, and several victims have been transported to area hospitals. So far, we know that the explosion has taken one life. Our prayers are with the victims and all those affected by this tragedy.
"The Office of the State Fire Marshal, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, and the Maryland Public Service Commission are all assisting on the ground. We continue to offer the State of Maryland's full support to local officials."
The Baltimore Firefighters Union tweeted out live updates in a thread, saying their president, Rich Langford and Secretary-Treasurer Shawn Little are on the scene supporting their members.
The Baltimore County Fire Department responded to the scene, with County Executive Johnny Olszewski saying the county is praying for the families affected.
"We will continue to assist our neighbors in the city as they respond to this horrific incident," he said in a tweet Monday morning.
WJZ reporters Paul Gessler, Annie Rose Ramos, Ava-joye Burnett, Kelsey Kushner and Rachel Menitoff contributed to this report.
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