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'Explosion was so intense': Witnesses describe Fells Point parking garage blast

Two people were injured, several cars were damaged
car explosion.PNG
Posted at 10:01 PM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-28 09:35:41-04

BALTIMORE — Gage Goettl was in his apartment Wednesday afternoon when he heard a loud boom, and felt the walls shaking.

He was forced to evacuate his apartment that shares a wall with a parking garage on S. Caroline Street in Fells Point.  

“I’m glad I wasn’t inside the garage,” he said. “The explosion was massive. I work in construction, and I’m used to loud noises, but this one almost had me crouch down and hit the ground.”

Fire officials continue to investigate the cause of a vehicle explosion that injured two people inside the Fells Point parking garage around 3 p.m.  

The explosion happened when a driver started his vehicle inside a five-story garage, according to Baltimore City Fire Department spokeswoman Blair Adams.

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Preliminary reports indicated the driver was parked on the third floor of the garage.

The explosion was so large that it damaged part of the garage and some of the vehicles inside of it. 

"It exploded to the point where it blew out glass windows in the garage as well as some cracks and indentation into the cement," Adams said.

 

Following the explosion, firefighters began evacuating all the businesses and homes within a one-mile radius of the parking garage.  

At the scene, the fire department was working together with the bomb squad to make sure they could safely remove three tanks that were found inside the damaged vehicle. It’s still unclear why the tanks were inside the vehicle to begin with.  

"We don't know the exact chemical that is inside the tanks. It's some sort of gas," said Adams. "That's all we have at this time. Exactly what was in there will be part of the investigation."  

Adams could not specify whether the van carrying the tanks was a commercial van or whether a crew was doing work in the immediate area.  

"The explosion was so intense there's not much we can make out from the vehicle," Adams said. "So, our investigators, once they're able to get in and get the three tanks outside, then they'll be able to further investigate the vehicle and the inside of the tanks."  

The fire department said two injuries were reported following the explosion. One of the injured individuals was the driver of the vehicle and the other was a bystander.  

It is unclear if the bystander was inside the garage or outside of it when the explosion happened.  

Goettl said saw the injured victim.  

“He actually walked up to people,” he said. “He asked for help and people started calling 911.”  

An ambulance took the driver of the vehicle to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries such as minor burns to the face and neck area and some lacerations.  

The cause of the explosion is under investigation.  

By 6:30 p.m., people who parked on the first floor and second floor of the parking garage were allowed to enter it and remove their vehicles.
 
People with vehicles on the third, fourth, and fifth floors were not allowed to enter and retrieve their property.  

“My car is on the third floor,” said a woman who did not want to be identified. “I don’t know when I’ll be able to get it back. They said structural engineers need to come and make sure it’s safe.”