A natural gas explosion in Pikesville left several people injured Friday afternoon and sparked a fire in the street, Baltimore County fire officials said.
At least one person was critically injured and taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center for treatment, said Elise Armacost, a Baltimore County Fire Department spokeswoman.
As of 9 p.m. Friday, the victim’s condition was unclear.
Baltimore Gas & Electric workers were among the injured, said Stephanie Weaver, a spokeswoman for the utility company. One worker was taken to a hospital and another was treated at the scene, near the intersection of Stevenson Road and Janellen Drive.
The BGE crews had been working on a “steel gas main” in the area when fire erupted, Weaver said.
Armacost said several structures, vehicles and power lines were enveloped by the fire.
Firefighters responded around 3:49 p.m., the department said in a tweet. Two hours later, they still were battling the blaze, but the fire was knocked out around 7 p.m. after BGE was able to shut off the gas main, Baltimore County Fire Director Tim Rostkowski said.
Rubin Schechman and his wife Donna Cary, who live directly across the street from where the explosion occurred, were outside in their yard when they heard a loud boom and saw a flash of light.
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“All of a sudden there was this big explosion,” Schechman said. “A fireball went probably 50 feet in the air.”
The couple and their cat were evacuated by firefighters. As Schechman described seeing one of the injured workers laid out on his lawn by firefighters, Cary became tearful, covering her mouth with her hands.
Schechman said he called BGE to report the smell of gas twice over the last several days. Both times, BGE responded quickly
Sherri Keller, who lives in the Stevenson Ridge-Halcyon neighborhood across from where the fire occurred, came outside after hearing a helicopter over her home.
Gas leaks aren’t unusual in the community, but “this was something different,” she said, standing outside watching crews work to contain the flames.
Weaver said BGE was working to make the area safe, work that required the company to suspend gas service to about 200 customers.
“The process of restoring gas service to these customers will begin once repairs are completed,” she said.