3 Injured After Gas Explosion In Pikesville
- Well, a gas explosion rocks a Baltimore County neighborhood more than three hours after the initial calls for help. This massive fire has finally been put out in Pikesville.
- And at this hour, we know several people are hurt, including one person critically. This all unfolding at Stevenson Road and Connellan Drive, and that is where we have live team coverage tonight.
- Kelsey Kushner spoke with neighbors. But first, we're going to go to Paul Gessler. Paul, I know you've been there quite a while. What happened and how are things looking there now?
- Well, for the first time in 3 hours, Denise, if you look behind that tree on the corner here of Birch Hollow and Stevenson, there is no [INAUDIBLE] shooting up over it on the corner of Quail Hollow or Birch Hollow and Stevenson. For 3 hours after this explosion, it was burning and now it appears that flame is out and the gas has been turned off.
Three people we are told are injured here, two of whom refused the treatment on the scene. One person taken to Johns Hopkins with critical, life threatening injuries. We confirm through BGE officially that was a BGE crew injured and taken to the hospital.
A neighbor here told us that he smelled gas last Sunday and reported it rightfully to BGE. They've been out here. There's been a flagger force directing traffic. This road has been closed. They've been working on it. Everyone here thought, well, the work, pretty close to being done. And just before 4 o'clock is when this explosion occurred.
We are told now 260 homes in this Pikesville neighborhood are without gas. Baltimore County Fire says this was only a 2 inch pipe. They have pipes much larger than that. More crews are on the way right now. There are several houses as well without electricity at this hour.
The fire shot as high as 60 feet in the air. Here's Lieutenant, Travis Francis of Baltimore County Fire.
TRAVIS FRANCIS: Construction crew that was working in this hole, it's a gas fed fire, that's why it's still burning at this point. We did have three people injured, one of them with life threatening injuries. They've been taken to John Hopkins Bayview. That was an adult male.
The other two individuals refused treatment here on the scene. And right now, we're just waiting for either shut the gas off to that line. And then, we believe that fire is going to go out. Our firefighters on scene, we evacuated multiple homes in the neighborhood.
They're cooling down any area that's around it. We do have some vehicles, an excavator that's back there that did burn some trees and some electric lines, so we BGE has secured the electric for us also.
PAUL GESSLER: Of note, for the first time in those three hours, we finally smell smoke. It was only when that fire went out. And now, they're starting to apply a little bit of water in that area. There are some sparks in nearby trees and electrical lines here as well that they've been monitoring.
But as you heard from the Lieutenant, they couldn't put water on this. They needed to wait for that gas to be shut off. So again, three people injured here. BGE crews were working on a main here on the corner of Stevenson and Birch Hollow.
About a half mile or so North of the Beltway here on Stevenson road where it is still closed when this explosion happened, one of those BGE employees taken to the hospital with what we are told, a critical life--
- That's Paul Gessler, great coverage this afternoon and tonight. Paul, thank you. Let's go over to Kelsey Kushner now.
- She has been busy speaking with people who live in that area, and who were home when they heard what was a boom when this first happened. Kelsey.
KELSEY KUSHNER: Denise, Rick. Well, it really was an incredible sight to see. I'll step out of the way and show you guys another angle from this scene here. Now neighbors we spoke with say that they were just in disbelief.
Those power lines are melted, trees were burned to a crisp. There were some neighbors that were evacuated from their homes. They're now waiting to find out when they're allowed to go back home.
Now neighbors we spoke with, they described the tense moments during that explosion. They say they could feel the house shake when they came outside. They could smell the gas and feel the heat from the flames. Take a listen to what they had to say.
PAYTON GOLDSMITH: We were on the side of the house on Stevenson Road looking at the Garden. And corner my eyes, I saw and I heard this big explosion. And just started getting worse and worse. And the fire was going up to the trees. And they brought one of the firemen over onto the lawn who was messed up. Donna, went out with a blanket, but they made us leave because it was getting worse and worse.
- I was sitting at my kitchen table and it sounded like a huge loud boom. I thought a tree fell down at first. They had been working on the gas pipe.
KELSEY KUSHNER: Now right now, neighbors on this street do not have any power. There is no official word yet on when that might be restored. A lot of neighbors out here say they are just grateful that there weren't more people that were injured. Reporting live at 7, Kelsey Kushner for WJZ.