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BGE looking at customer-owned equipment in gas explosion

Posted at 4:59 PM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 19:14:27-04

BALTIMORE — Two people are now confirmed dead following a natural gas explosion that destroyed three row houses in Baltimore and sent seven people to the hospital, authorities said Tuesday.

According to family members the victim pulled from the rubble shortly before 1 a.m. was 20-year-old Joseph Graham.

Baltimore Fire Department spokeswoman Blair Adams said at the operation had moved into a recovery phase.

Graham’s death follows that or an unidentified woman who’s been pronounced dead at the scene shortly after Monday morning’s explosion. Seven others were hospitalized, five in critical condition, according to Adams. The conditions of the other two were still being determined.

As for the cause, it remains under investigation.

BGE said prior to Monday’s explosion no gas odors were reported and that the energy company did not receive any recent gas odor calls from the block of homes that were damaged.

BGE said it last inspected the area’s gas mains and services in June and July of 2019 and no leaks were found.

In a statement released Tuesday, BGE said its focus was now on customer-owned equipment.

“At the request of the investigators, BGE has provided requested gas and electricity data to the Baltimore City Fire Department and other investigators. This information is being reviewed by the investigators and can be helpful to investigators on analyzing the flows of gas and electricity on customer-owned equipment.

The data is indicative of some type of issue beyond the BGE meter on customer-owned equipment and is currently being analyzed by investigators.

We will continue to work closely with the Fire Department and investigators to inspect equipment at the scene. We are committed to cooperating fully with the investigators in finding the cause of the explosion.”

"This afternoon BGE resupplied natural gas to the portion of gas main and service pipes along a portion of Labyrinth Road that had been removed from service as a safety precaution," they stated in a statement later Tuesday. "The gas main and service pipes successfully passed the pressurization test required to be placed back in service."

BGE also inspected the gas main and service pipes with leak detection equipment and no leaks were found, confirming yesterday’s leak survey results.

"The process will now begin to restore service to 34 individual customer properties along the portion of Labyrinth Road that had service temporarily suspended. BGE will work directly with customers at their convenience to restore service and relight any gas appliances. BGE will leave instructions for any customers not at their homes to facilitate service restoration."