A "major" gas explosion leveled several homes in northwest Baltimore on Monday, killing one woman and leaving six others injured, authorities said. At least four of the injured were listed in serious condition, according to the Baltimore City Fire Department.
As of 3:30 p.m., the scene was still considered active as officials searced for possible victims. It's still unknown how many homes were leveled in the explosion.
One of the victims was pulled out of the rubble after a search and rescue operation, said the spokeswoman, Blair Adams. The person was responsive as they were being carried away on a stretcher, and neighbors were heard applauding, CBS Baltimore reported.
An active rescue was still underway early Monday afternoon for another victim. Adams said firefighters had their "eyes on" the person but did not know their condition.
"You have homes pretty much crumbled, there's a ton of debris on the ground," Adams said at a news conference. "We're combing through to see if we can find any additional occupants."
Adams described the blast as a gas explosion but said the exact cause is still under investigation. Baltimore Gas & Electric is on the scene and the gas is being turned off in the immediate area, the station reports. As of Monday afternoon, the gas was still in the process of being shut off, said Baltimore Gas & Electric spokeswoman Linda Foy.
"We are on the scene and working closely with the fire department to make the situation safe," Foy said. "Once the gas is off, we can begin to safely assess the situation, including inspections of BGE equipment."
The American Red Cross was at the wreckage to hand out water and help displaced residents. Paul Carden, a Red Cross disaster service officer, said they would begin working one-on-one with the families who had been displaced from their homes and the families of the victims.
Eyewitnesses told CBS Baltimore they heard a large boom and felt the ground shake.
One man, Dean Jones, told the station he ran from his home without any shoes when he heard the blast. When he arrived at the scene, he could hear someone saying "help" from under the rubble. He and several other neighbors started to move rubble to try to reach the person.
"It was catastrophic. It was like a bomb, like you watch things in other countries where they have like bombings and things like that," 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 said he could smell gas.
Another witness, who identified himself only by his first name, Albert, told the station he heard a trapped woman "begging for help" and tried to move a massive amount of debris to get to her before firefighters arrived. He said he saw another man emerge with skin wounds and a fractured ankle from the rubble of another home, and he could see directly into the home's basement.
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