Damage extended all the way to Pulaski Highway, about a quarter-mile away, officials said.

CSX has opened an outreach center at the Country Inn & Suites on Yellow Brick Road in Rosedale, where residents can ask questions about property damage, spokesman Gary Sease said. He added that residents should be skeptical of repair firms in the aftermath of the derailment, and should ask to see contractors' licenses and certifications to avoid scam artists.

The company also hosted a meeting for local business representatives at the Rosario's Italian Kitchen restaurant on Wednesday afternoon.

In the tight-knit community of Maryland Manor near the train tracks, residents said they were grateful no one was killed, though some people weren't sure whether to contact CSX or their homeowner's insurance about damage to their homes.

"People are very confused because they don't know what to do," said Donna Digman, whose home's foundation cracked and roof shifted. "There's a lot of elderly in this area that can't get out of their homes."

Many of Digman's neighbors were turning to her for advice about insurance issues because she's a marketing representative for Servpro, a restoration company. "Take photographs," she told them. "Don't throw anything away."

Digman said a representative of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz's office had traveled through the neighborhood Wednesday morning.

"He wanted to know we were OK," she said.

Down the street, Brian Hunter was calmly picking up shards of glass in his backyard, where eight windows had shattered in his pool room. He hoped to find every little piece.

"That worries me, because I have grandkids that come over and run around in their bare feet," Hunter said.

He said he had not heard from CSX and contacted his homeowner's insurance about filing a claim.

Kelly Hollen said she was dealing with damage that included three broken windows, but she was still thankful.

"Accidents do happen," she said. "It could've been a lot worse. … Houses can be replaced. Windows can be replaced. Lives cannot. They're the most precious."

On Tuesday, a window fell on Hollen's 62-year-old mother, who was in bed at the time of the blast.

"Thank God it didn't shatter," Hollen said. "But it scared her to death."

She was one of the few residents who went to a shelter at the Rosedale Volunteer Fire Station Tuesday night.

"The American Red Cross was so awesome," Hollen said, adding that representatives of CSX, the Fire Department and the county Health Department had also shown compassion for her family at the shelter. "They were all lovely people."

The county's Permits, Approvals and Inspections Department will expedite approval of permits needed for repairs, county spokeswoman Ellen Kobler said. The department's inspectors have checked some buildings upon request to look for safety issues.

A representative of the county's Department of Economic Development has been meeting with businesses in the area, she added.

Among the most heavily damaged commercial buildings in the area was the Plumbers & Steamfitters U.A. Local 486 Training Facility, which is behind and up a large hill from the Windustrial warehouse.

The power of the explosion came over the warehouse and up the hill and blew out all of the training facility's windows, ripped heavy doors in the large building's interior off their hinges, tore ceiling tiles and lights from their anchors and sent large, snaking cracks through concrete floors and concrete block walls.

It was here that a piece of window glass shot an inch into a wooden door. It was here where no one was killed because employees had left the building to go outside and look at the burning train cars down the hill, said Bob Los, a training instructor at the facility.

"Curiosity does not always kill the cat," Los said. "If they weren't curious, and hadn't gone outside, there would have been body bags coming out of here."

Al Clinedinst, training director at the local, said he was awaiting a structural assessment to determine next steps.

"When something is this huge, you've really gotta bring in the experts and let them tell us," he said.