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2 dead, others rescued after explosion demolishes homes in Baltimore

Several trapped after explosion demolishes homes in Baltimore
Posted at 7:40 AM, Aug 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 20:00:42-04

BALTIMORE - A woman and man are dead and at least seven other people are seriously hurt after a gas explosion caused three homes to collapse Monday morning in Northwest Baltimore.

As rescue crews and K-9's continued combing through the rubble overnight, a man's body was discovered just before 1 a.m. Tuesday. He is the second reported death related to the incident.

A family member on Tuesday afternoon confirmed to WMAR-2 News, that the man found was 20-year-old Morgan State student Joseph Graham.

Authorities haven't officially released the names of any of the victims.

The explosion happened just before 10 a.m. near the Plaza in the area of Labyrinth and Reisterstown Roads, prompting a three-alarm response from 200 rescue crews from multiple cities and surrounding county agencies.

About 200 people were impacted, including 30 who needed temporary housing.

The American Red Cross is helping them with food, shelter, transportation, and medical services, while the city works to make sure the homes still standing are structurally sound.

PHOTO GALLERY: DEADLY EXPLOSION TURNS NW BALTIMORE HOMES INTO RUBBLE

BGE was able to turn gas off in the area by 9 p.m. Monday.

Meanwhile, some electric lines were damaged causing power outages, but they've since been repaired with all power having been restored in the neighborhood.

Investigators are looking into whether any customer-owned home utility appliances potentially contributed to the explosion.

So far BGE says they've been unable to find any leaks or problems with gas mains and meters in the area.

Prior to the explosion, BGE said they received no reports of gas odors or leaks at any of the homes in the last five years.

The area’s gas infrastructure was installed in the early 1960s and was last inspected in July of 2019.

Maryland's Vital Records building was forced to close for the rest of the day, following the explosion.

WMAR-2 News spoke with two witnesses who explained what they heard and saw, and how they rushed to help.

Governor Larry Hogan tweeted that he's been debriefed on the situation and said his office is grateful to the first responders at the scene.

City Council President Brandon Scott said he first learned of the explosion from his mother, who works at a grocery store in the Reisterstown Plaza.

"This morning’s explosion was absolutely devastating. The tragedy hit close to home as I received a call from my mother who works nearby in the Reisterstown Plaza. She heard the blast from her job," said Scott. "I want to thank not only our Baltimore City first responders but also Baltimore County for their support during this tragedy. My heart and prayers are with the victims, their families, and the residents of this community. During this time of uncertainty, the only thing that matters is the safety and wellbeing of our neighbors."

For now, people are being told to steer clear of the area.

WMAR-2 News has a crew on the ground and will continue to provide the latest updates as they become available.

This story was originally published by Ryan Dickstein at WMAR.