At least 21 injured in explosion at downtown Baltimore office building
At least 21 people were injured in an explosion Wednesday at a downtown Baltimore office building, according to local CBS affiliate WJZ-TV.
The Baltimore City Fire Department responded to the scene promptly after an explosion and partial roof collapse was reported just before 8:30 a.m. at the Baltimore Gas & Electric building with more than 20 victims trapped inside.
Twenty-three people were rescued from the building and 21 were taken to the hospital for treatment. Two of the victims declined medical aid, though nine are in critical condition and one is in serious condition, the local outlet reported.
No deaths have been reported, according to a statement sent to WJZ from Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott’s (D) office.
Explosion Update: A total of 23 victims were rescued from the explosion in the 100blk of W. Fayette St. 21 of the victims were transported to area hospitals & 2 victims declined. #BCFD members continue search the bldg. The cause remains under investigation. pic.twitter.com/STKTnArlS1
— Baltimore Fire (@BaltimoreFire) December 23, 2020
Some of the victims were cleaning windows at the time of the explosion and clung to the remainders of a fallen scaffolding while they awaited help for about 30 minutes. The fire department rescued workers by breaking a window on the 10th and 11th floors.
Local news and eyewitness accounts reported some victims were carried out on stretchers, and two victims were treated on the ground for burn-related injuries before heading to the hospital.
EXPLOSION WITH RESCUE
39 W Lexington St 21201#DowntownBaltimore @DowntownBalt@CouncilmanETC#BCFDR1 reports evidence of an explosion on floor 16 with 2 workers trapped in scaffolding. #BCFDSOC on the way to rescue them. #BCFDEMS treating 2 people on the ground with burns. pic.twitter.com/vs7rNGMKCM
— Baltimore Firefighters IAFF Local 734 (@BCFDL734) December 23, 2020
Baltimore Gas & Electric told WJZ they did not believe the explosion was gas-related, noting construction work was being done on the building’s air handling and boiler systems. According to the Baltimore firefighters’ union, the incident occurred along the 16th floor.
In Scott’s statement, he thanked the fire department and first responders, saying, “without their bravery and quick response, the outcome could have been much worse. As the Fire Department’s investigation continues, my office will provide updates.”