BALTIMORE — On Tuesday, Mayor Brandon Scott joined local officials, state officials, and the family of Joseph Graham Jr. to mark the one year anniversary of the gas explosion on Labyrinth Road.
The blast claimed the lives of two people, 20-year-old Joseph Graham Jr. and 61-year-old Lonnie Herriott. The explosion also injured seven other people.
Tuesday’s hour long memorial at Fallstaff Elementary School celebrated their memories and helped lift the families and communities that were impacted by the event. The memorial also paid tribute to first responders.
During the event Mayor Scott encourage mindfulness for the one year anniversary of the Labyrinth Road disaster.
“I want to invite everyone to dedicate a moment in your day to pause, reflect on the tremendous impact this tragedy has had on so many, hold a moment of silence, and continue to shower this community with the love that has gotten us this far,” Scott said.
WMAR 2 News revisited Labyrinth Road and spoke to a few neighbors.
Sitting on the front steps of her rowhome, Diane Pruitt reflected on the past year. Her home is directly across from explosion site.
“There are no real answers as to what happened,” said Pruitt. “Everyone disavows what happened. There’s the ‘We don’t know what happened. Maybe it was a building up of gas.’ No one is taking responsibility.”
As WMAR 2 News has reported, officials maintain it was a natural gas buildup that caused last years’ explosion.
Back in January Baltimore city fire department chief Miles Ford said when the stove is turned on, it triggered the blast along labyrinth Road.
“After months of investigating, it has been determined that the explosion was a result of a large natural gas buildup,” said Ford. “Based on the investigation and evidence, it appears as though a stove is turned on which provided the ignition source.”
A construction crew was apparently doing work in the basement at 4232 Leavines Rd. the day before, however officials never found the proper permits for the license contractors work.
“No one seems to want to take responsibility,” said Pruitt, “but here we are. It impacted so many people and many of us used our own money to rebuild. Some of us wonder why this was never declared a disaster zone.”
Pruitt told WMAR 2 News she was displaced from her home for eight months.
“There’s still some fear,” she said. “I know it’s probably not going to happen again but it’s still scary, even a year later.”
According to Baltimore’s Department of Housing and Community Development, more than 40 homes were impacted, and 13 families relocated.”