A gas explosion leveled three row houses in a northwest Baltimore neighborhood Monday morning, leaving a woman dead and at least six other people injured, authorities said.
Firefighters were searching by hand for more people trapped in the pile of bricks, drywall, and lumber. One neighbor told a reporter for WBAL-TV of hearing cries of “Help! I’m here!” from people buried in the wreckage.
Six people injured in the blast, which occurred shortly before 10 a.m., were transported to a hospital, a fire official said. At least four of them were in serious condition, the Baltimore City Fire Department said on Twitter. At least one of the injured was pulled from the rubble, said Blair Adams, a spokeswoman for the Fire Department.
The woman who was killed was pronounced dead at the scene, said Adams, who described the blast as “a major gas explosion.”
Trained dogs will be brought in to assist in the search, said Isaac Schleifer, a Baltimore councilor who represents the district where the explosion happened.
Videos showed rubble and debris from the row homes strewn across the streets in front of and behind the homes.
The utility company, Baltimore Gas and Electric, was at the scene and working to shut off gas to surrounding homes, a spokesman said. Once the gas is turned off, it will work to inspect the site and its equipment, he said.
“It felt like a bomb,” said Barry Leventhal, owner of MidAtlantic Store Fixtures, which is near the site of the explosion.
He and his staff thought a plane crashed onto the roof of the warehouse, he said, adding that his building’s concrete walls were cracked by the blast.
“Everyone scattered; they didn’t know what the hell happened,” he said.