Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. has not yet determined the cause of the gas explosion that wrecked a retail-business complex in Columbia last weekend.
BGE spokesman Aaron Koos said the investigation into possible causes continues as crews gain slowly access to gas and ignition sources, and more of the building, including the utility room.
No one was injured in the massive Sunday morning explosion that tore through the Lakeside Office Park building in the 8800 block of Stanford Boulevard. First responders had evacuated what few people were in the building before the explosion after receiving reports of a strong gas smell and seeing a crack in the swelling parking lot’s pavement.
No one has offered an estimate of the damage, which closed a Social Security Administration office and other tenants, including an Indian grocery store, a nail salon, a coffee shop, a sushi restaurant and a pizzeria.
Koos said BGE is investigating underground communications lines and electric wires found in the immediate vicinity of the gas pipes.
“We still need to better understand the specific types of lines and their placement,” Koos said.
Investigators still need to inspect equipment in the most heavily damaged and least stable part of the building, he said.
Inspecting the extremely damaged of sections of the building "remains a challenge,” Koos said. Investigators were able to safely gain access to more energy equipment previously in the “exclusion zone.”
Crews inspected portions of the underground gas and electric lines in the area after the explosion and found some of the equipment to have “sustained significant damage," Koos said. Inspected gas pipes were able to hold sustained pressures when tested.
BGE continues to inspect the safety of the surrounding natural gas systems. No additional issues had been found as of Thursday evening.