Watch CBS News

'It Was Like A Bomb Went Off' | Residents Say Baltimore Gas Explosion Jolted Their Homes

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Residents in the northwest Baltimore neighborhood where a gas explosion leveled at least three homes say the explosion rocked their homes blocks away.

Several residents said they smelled gas just before the explosion that killed two people died and injured seven others around 9:54 a.m. along Labyrinth Road at Reisterstown Road near Brookhill Road. Neighbors worry another blast could happen.

"It was catastrophic. It was like a bomb like you watch things in other countries where they have like bombings and things like that," neighbor Dean Jones said. "It was like watching that in real life. Telephone poles split, I mean, houses down the block, broken glass. When I initially got there, I could hear a voice just saying 'Help,' it's crazy. It's something I don't ever wanna see ever again; I don't want to relive it ever again."

Jones, who lived a few blocks away, said when he heard the explosion, he took off running.

"I had no shoes, somebody had to bring me my shoes. I took off running down the street, neighbors were looking at me like I was kind of crazy like 'What's going on?' and 'Where is it, where is it?' So once I got to the alley, I could see the smoke, and I just took off and a couple other neighbors joined with me," Jones said. "I was just like, 'Let's just see if there's anybody in there,' and we started calling out 'Is anybody in there? Is anybody in there?' And I could hear a voice just like 'Help, help' so we just started digging in moving bricks. I mean everything, all kinds of debris, like parts of a fence like, we weren't even thinking, you could hear gas in the background it was crazy."

"I heard a kaboom and I thought it was a car or something and when I came out, I seen the debris and something's gone, totally gone," one man told WJZ reporter Paul Gessler, calling it a mess and chaos.

Another woman said when they arrived at the scene, they could hear hissing that sounded like a gas leak. Despite that, people rushed into the rubble to see if they could help people trapped, she said.


The gas explosion was so strong it was felt miles away.

Miss Shirley said she was sleeping when the explosion happened. Her apartment door flew open suddenly and she heard a loud boom.

"I just heard this boom like an explosion, my door flew open in my apartment in the basement of the house my door flew open and I was like, I didn't know what was going, the lights went out and I was like 'Oh my god' and it was like the earth shook! I didn't know and I came outside and I saw all the damage everywhere, I mean it scared me to death, scared me to death," she said. "I started crying, I'm thanking God because it could've been worse, it could've been worse."

Ninety-year-old Caroline told WJZ she was in her kitchen several homes away when the explosion rocked her home. Her windows and door were blown out.

"When I looked out, all I could see was rubble laying in the street," she recalled.

When she called up her family, she told them the blast left her homeless.

"I really don't know how to explain it, I've been going through hell. I've never been through anything like this in my life and I'm 90 years old," she said.

CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Security Camera Catches Blast

Neighbor Pamela Griffin was still trying to come to grips with the tragedy.

"It could've been... I could have been dead," she said.

Right after the explosion, many took to social media to ask if anyone knew what was happening.

A man who lives in Mount Washington, more than three miles away from the explosion, felt it in his home.

"I was sitting at my desk doing work when my entire house shook suddenly for a couple seconds. I ran to the windows because I thought something had happened outside. Then I found out the explosion took place more than three miles from my home -- that goes to show you just how tremendously powerful that blast was," he told WJZ.

Employees at the nearby Applebees told WJZ they could feel the explosion a couple of blocks away.

WJZ's Annie Rose Ramos interviewed Albert, who was nearby as well. He said he thought it was one of his family members at first since many of them live on that block across the street.

"The first thing I did was run outside and I looked for my mother. She was right there by the car so I made sure she was okay. Then I ran to look for everybody," he said.

He said everybody's windows are blown out, then he saw the three houses had collapsed.

"Then I saw someone else, he was helping to get the young lady out, you could hear her yelling, 'Help, help, hello, hello,'" he said.

"I know I didn't have on the proper footgear but of course, as anyone should do, the first thing I did was jump into action to try to save her. Went and threw cinderblocks and debris to the side to try to get to her. But it was so much debris, cinder blocks, rubble all that to try to get to her," he added.

He said when they saw the firefighters come it "really did give us some type of relief."

"But, even when the firefighters did come, the first thing we told them was, we need more people," he said. "It just wasn't enough. We could tell there was a lot more people under there."

WJZ reporters Paul Gessler, Annie Rose Ramos, Ava-joye Burnett, Kelsey Kushner and Rachel Menitoff contributed to this report.

Stay with WJZ on this developing story. To get breaking news alerts, download our app now!

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.