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Steam pipe explosion rocks downtown Baltimore, injures 5

BALTIMORE -- Baltimore Fire reports five people have been injured after a steam pipe exploded on Tuesday, causing headaches for the afternoon rush hour, buckling the street, shattering windows on cars and buildings and gushing a plume several stories high for more than an hour.

There is no information on the severity of injuries, CBS Baltimore reports, but officials said they do not appear to be life-threatening.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh came to the scene of the explosion and go over details with fire officials.

Just after 6 p.m. on Tuesday, crews were called to Eutaw Street between Lombard and Pratt Streets for a steam pipe explosion.

Steam billowed out of the hole for almost an hour, until crews were able to gain control of the situation.

A video posted to Twitter by Nick Figueroa shows bystanders watching the incident unfold.

CBS Baltimore's helicopter saw a large cloud of steam filled downtown city streets and crews began working on the situation and block traffic.

Rubble and debris scattered over the area of South Eutaw Street and dust and dirt covered nearby cars.

Several city agencies are working to investigate the situation, including Baltimore Police and Fire departments, as well as the Office of Emergency Management and the Department of Public Works.

Firefighters sprayed water on one hotel so the facade wouldn't melt.

Cars damaged when a steam pipe explodes in Baltimore on Tue., June 20, 2017. Baltimore Fire Department

Baltimore City Office of Emergency Management says Baltimore Fire HazMat teams are monitoring the air and confirm the clouds are steam.

Baltimore firefighters sprayed water to keep debris down.

Aerial view of a steam pipe explosion in Baltimore on Tue., June 20, 2017. CBS Baltimore

Baltimore City Office of Emergency Management says traffic delays should be expected.

MTA says LocalLink Bus routes have been disrupted with diversions and delays.

"Customers can expect major delays on LocalLink service downtown. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience during this time," MTA said in a statement.

Baltimore Police Spokesman T.J. Smith says no criminal actions are suspected.

The explosion happened just 75 minutes before the start of the Baltimore Orioles game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards about three blocks away. The game started on time.

Although the steam had mostly stopped by 7:30 p.m., a dispatcher for Baltimore's Department of Public Works said the site is still too hot for workers to get close enough to inspect the pipes.

A spokeswoman for BGE, the electric and natural gas utility in central Maryland, says the utility went to the scene at the request of the fire department, but the explosion does not appear to involve any of the company's equipment.

Veolia North America, which operates Baltimore steam pipe network, had emergency crews on the scene and had shut off the steam, fire officials said.

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