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Gas leak not thought to be cause of Essex home explosion

Massive explosion in Essex still under investigation
Massive explosion in Essex still under investigation 03:05

BALTIMORE -- Baltimore Gas and Electric said a gas leak does not appear to have caused the explosion of a home Saturday night in Essex. 

The home was on fire before the explosion, which happened around 11 p.m. on Crafton Road near Avenal Road. One man was hospitalized for burn injuries.

The homeowner told WJZ that she and her children were not home when this happened.

A neighbor, named Michael, said he smelled natural gas earlier Saturday night and called the gas utility company.

"BGE came around and was probing all the areas and all the houses and then they didn't find anything, they said," Michael told WJZ. 

Officials say they have heard from several neighbors that there was a foul smell in the area Saturday. BGE told WJZ Monday that crews did not detect gas readings when they canvassed the area. 

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Baltimore County Fire Department. BGE said it will continue to monitor the site and provide support as needed. 

Patricia Rodolff told WJZ she heard the explosion boom and felt the heat of the flames.

"Over here, you could feel it getting burned," Rodolff said. "It went from a couple of flames to this massive thing of flames. I mean so fast. It's like nothing I've ever seen."

A security camera shows what appears to be motion near the front door before the explosion.

Baltimore County Public Schools says Essex Elementary School is collecting items from the community to give to the family. So far, the school has received generous amounts of clothing, food, and supplies.

Other local businesses are helping, too. The Seahorse Inn in Dundalk says it has received a large amount of donations so far.  

"When something like this happens, you really see the community come together," Hans said. "I've collected clothes that I'm not wearing anymore or even some things that I've never worn."

Rodolff said she was one of the first to welcome the homeowners to the neighborhood. 

"They're in shock. It's tragedy and they're trying to cope," Rodolff said. "They're wonderful people and their kids are great. I wouldn't have anybody go through this."

Anyone who suspects they have a gas leak is asked to report it to BGE immediately by calling (877) 778-7798 or by calling 911.

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