Improperly disconnected stove, lit candle caused Sunday home explosion in Edgewood, fire marshal's office says

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Oct. 13—An improperly disconnected gas stove and a lit candle caused the explosion that tore through an Edgewood home Sunday and left a man in stable but critical condition.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal identified the man injured in the explosion as 67-year-old Delbert Markley Jr. He was transported with third-degree burns to his upper body and arms to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, which is known for its burn center.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal reported Wednesday that Markley had improperly disconnected his gas stove, allowing the home to fill with natural gas, and lit a candle. Markley told investigators he had disconnected the stove in preparation for a new range to be delivered Monday. Markley was in the rear bedroom of his home during the initial blast. He was able to get out from the remains of the house, where bystanders assisted him, the office reported.

"Natural gas and propane are treated with a substance that has a distinctive odor that smells like rotten eggs. If you can smell it in your home, go outside and call 911 immediately," State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci said in a news release. "Don't smoke or use any electrical appliances, even a light switch or thermostat, because any spark could lead to an explosion."

Both of Markley's dogs were inside the home at the time of the explosion. One was rescued the night of the explosion, but had to be euthanized Wednesday morning because of its injuries. The other emerged from the rubble while investigators were at the scene Monday and is being cared for at the Humane Society of Harford County.

Neighbors reported the explosion sent jets of flame 30 to 40 feet in the air. The homes on either side of Markley's were damaged, but no other injuries were reported.

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