Essex man hurt, house destroyed in gas explosion


An Essex man was seriously injured and his house nearly destroyed Sunday night when leaking gas ignited.

The explosion occurred just after 11 p.m., a few hours after another gas leak in the Lower Eastern Shore town of Snow Hill killed a utility worker and injured 17 people.

Matthew Wedderin, 47, was taken by ambulance to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center with first- and second-degree burns to his face, hands and back. Wedderin was the sole occupant of the house in the 500 block of Welbrook Road at the time of the explosion.

According to the Baltimore County Fire Department officials, the explosion occurred after Wedderin smelled gas in the two-story rowhouse and flicked on his gas range. "I guess he thought it would burn off the gases," said Fire Department spokesman John Parham.

The gas ignited, blowing out the front windows and buckling the house's brick walls. Parham said the house would be demolished. "It was a bigtime explosion. The guy is lucky to have survived," he said.

Officials have not determined the source of the leak, which was apparently limited to Wedderin's house. Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. tests found no problems in lines to neighboring homes.

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