www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-lakewood-fire-report-20140306,0,2521193.story

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Explosion led to deadly Lakewood Ave. rowhome fire

Investigation says explosion originated in basement

By Sean Welsh, The Baltimore Sun

8:54 PM EST, March 6, 2014

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An investigation into a fatal fire at an East Baltimore rowhouse last month revealed that the incident began with an explosion in the basement, according to a report released Thursday.

The explosion originated in either the heating system or a natural gas-fueled water heater at the home in the 400 block of N. Lakewood Ave. It "was caused by natural gas coming in contact with an ignition source," according to the investigation report released by the Baltimore City Fire Department.

Troy Douglas, an 8-year-old boy walking from nearby William Paca Elementary School, was found dead under the rubble of the north wall of the home, which collapsed outward toward Jefferson Street.

Three other people, including another child outside the home and two adults inside, were transported to local hospitals for treatment.

The report found that the exterior wall gave way, leading the roof and second floor to collapse onto the first floor.

In a statement following the report's release, BGE CEO Calvin G. Butler Jr. said: "BGE is currently reviewing the results of the Baltimore City Fire Department investigation. Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of Troy Douglas and to those injured and hospitalized because of the house fire and collapse in East Baltimore. We have been working closely with the Baltimore City Fire Department investigators as they worked to understand the cause of the fire and collapse. The fire department investigation report indicates that natural gas was likely involved. We continue to investigate how natural gas could have been a factor. If the investigation reveals we failed to live up to our high standards we will take all appropriate actions."

sjwelsh@baltsun.com

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