BALTIMORE -- Three people—including a 16-year-old girl—were injured in an explosion involving several homes and a ruptured gas line Tuesday in the Southwest Baltimore neighborhood of Pigtown.
BGE said in a statement that it completed upgrades in October to the gas main that services the same site as the explosion. Following the explosion, BGE turned off services and stayed onsite to assist Baltimore City first responders.
BGE said in a follow-up email to WJZ that the last time one of its employees had been at the site of the explosion was in early November.
"There have not been any BGE crews in that area since a technician turned on electric service to one of the homes in the 1100 block on November 3," a spokesperson for BGE said.
Chopper 13 flew over the scene on Bayard Street where a home was completely demolished.
Officials said one person is in serious condition and two others are in critical condition.
Fire Chief Roman Clark said one person outside was injured while attempting to rescue two females inside.
Officials said the three injured were a 16-year-old girl, a 48-year-old woman and a 70-year-old man.
"At this point, we can say that we did have an explosion at 1121 Bayard Street, which basically affected 1123 structural-wise," Clark told WJZ. "We had three civilians that were injured. All three of the civilians are priority one, which is 'serious condition,' and all three have been transported to the hospital at this time."
Two of the fire victims were inside the house that exploded, Clark said. A third victim, a man, went into the house to help them, he said.
Officials said the fire is under control, and BGE is at the scene digging to gain access to gas lines.
"An excavator has been requested and is en route to assist," said Phylicia Porter, with the Office of Emergency Management. "At the present time, possibly three families may need to be relocated."
BGE officials said on Tuesday that it had turned off services on Bayard Street and is assisting first responders.
"BGE is on the scene of an incident at 1121 Bayard Street in Baltimore City," the gas and electric company said in a statement. "BGE turned off service to 1121 and 1123 Bayard and remains onsite to assist Baltimore City first responders. Once the location is deemed safe for access, we will assist Baltimore City Fire Department in its investigation as to the cause of the incident. BGE completed upgrades in October to the gas main that services the 1100 block of Bayard Street."
Many people in the neighborhood heard a "boom" when the explosion happened.
"It sounded like somebody took a hand grenade and threw it and it went boom," said Dale, a neighborhood resident.
People who live in the area told WJZ reporter Kelsey Kushner that construction crews have been working on gas lines for about a month. They said they smelled gas leading up to the explosion.
"I was at my kitchen table, eating, and the next thing you know there was a big explosion; it was a big boom," one woman said. "It was very loud. It kind of knocked me out of my chair."
The woman said she ran to her front door and realized that something went wrong with a gas line.
Another neighborhood resident, James, said he was one of several neighbors who watched as the house went up in flames.
"You hear pop, pop, pop, and everybody said it's about to explode again," James said.
Neighbors like Jake Booher said they were anxiously waiting for answers as firefighters probed through the wreckage and rubble.
"I'm concerned," Booher said. "There's a cat. I don't know where my cat is."
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