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BCFD: Stove ignited deadly gas explosion that destroyed multiple homes on Labyrinth Road last year

Posted at 11:31 AM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-13 15:01:37-05

BALTIMORE — Baltimore City officials on Tuesday said a stove was the source that ignited a deadly gas explosion last August on Labyrinth Road.

Fire Chief Niles Ford said there was a large buildup of natural gas inside 4232 Labyrinth, and that when the stove was turned on, it created the blast.

BGE was able to still conduct a meter reading on the home following the incident, and reportedly found a spike in natural gas sometime between 1:30 and 2 in the morning on August 10, the day of the explosion.

Investigators learned that a licensed contractor had been working on the home's HVAC system the day before.

An investigative report obtained by WMAR-2 News, couldn't rule out that the work potentially caused an initial leak which may have led to natural gas building up.

Investigators also didn't rule out the possibility of someone creating a leak by tampering with the gas piping.

RELATED: Two dead, others rescued after explosion demolishes homes in NW Baltimore

So far, Ford says the city's been unable to find any permits that were filed before the work was done.

The explosion claimed the life of 61-year-old Lonnie Herriott and 20-year-old Joseph Graham and injured seven others.

Three homes completely collapsed as result with another 200 or so damaged, causing many residents to become displaced.

BGE released a statement on the city's findings, again standing by an initial assessment that all their equipment had been operating safely at the time of the incident.

"Equipment beyond the meter – including natural gas appliances – are the responsibility of the customer," said BGE. "This incident is a very tragic reminder of the importance of natural gas safety. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who lost loved ones and others affected by this incident."