A major gas explosion killed two people, crumbled three homes, and injured seven residents of Reisterstown Station, Baltimore. The blast, which blew out windows and tore doors from their hinges, could be heard from miles away. The incident took place on August 9.
Home explosions caused by gas leaks have killed many Americans and damaged numerous properties in recent years. The Baltimore incident prompted the local fire chief to refer to the consequences of the event as "horrendous.”
According to one eyewitness, the explosion sent bricks flying into cars that were parked on the street and buried fatal victims deep in the rubble. A number of people went missing, and at least one survivor was hospitalized in critical condition.
The fatal victims were Joseph Graham Jr., a 20-year-old Morgan State student, and 61-year old Lonnie Herriott. The gruesome details of the tragedy were revealed in the 911 calls that followed. One caller blurted out, “Everybody’s windows are blown out. It’s terrible. There are people under houses,” while others said, "It went boom," and "The houses are gone...They are gone.”
Although the investigation is ongoing, it seems like this was a typical case of a preventable gas explosion. In fact, one of the residents who called 911 said she smelled gas right before the incident.
The epicenter of the explosion was Labyrinth road around number 4232. One resident heard something hit her window and was shocked to discover what had happened, “When I came outside, I saw the house on the ground,” she told reporters. “It was chaos.”
According to the Baltimore Sun, "Baltimore-area gas lines are in serious need of repair," and it could take Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. (“BGE”) "at least two decades" to get the job done.
BGE was founded in 1817; it is the oldest gas utility in the country. One of its top executives recently appeared before Maryland's Public Service Commission to provide information about his employer's outmoded gas distribution infrastructure. The company acknowledged that at least 15 percent of the system is obsolete.
As gas pipes age, they become increasingly leaky. Without proper upgrades and maintenance, anyone living in an area with homes and gas pipes dating back to the 1960s can be at risk. Unsurprisingly, the houses that were destroyed by the blast in Baltimore were built in that decade.
U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume said in a statement that "a whole community will be traumatized by [the Baltimore] tragedy for a long time to come.” City Council President Brandon Scott stated, “The entire city of Baltimore needs to send hopeful prayers to everyone impacted by this. . . Nobody should have to experience this.” With millions of Americans relying on natural gas for heating, people all over the nation may be at risk.
If you are a loved one were injured by a gas explosion, you may sue utility companies, contractors, cities, states, and others for compensation. If such an explosion damaged your property, you might also have a case. Homes are not supposed to blow up in flames, and our legal system offers many protections for those affected.
Contact us today for a free consultation online or 361.885.0184. Our team of experienced legal and technical professionals will work hard to help you expose negligent parties and maximize compensation. We have a track record of recovering millions of dollars for victims just like you.