Four injured after fire pit explosion in Monkton

Posted at 7:29 AM, Oct 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-02 18:01:42-04

Police, fire and hazmat units raced to a remote area off JM Pearce Road in Monkton on Sunday night after an explosion that could be heard from a great distance away.

"It was 'Pow!'  It sounded like a cannon going off,” said Chuck Sabia, one of the victims’ neighbors, “Not like we hear gunshots once in a while in the fields and so forth, but nothing... We hadn't heard anything that loud.  Then we came out and checked and I didn't see anything.  I looked for flames.  I didn't hear any screaming or anything like that, so we just went back inside."
First responders would find a family of four that suffered various injuries after a blast in their back yard.

"A family had been sitting outside around a bonfire and they had been using the drum of a washing machine as a makeshift fire pit, and something caused that fire pit to explode," said Elise Armacost of the Baltimore County Fire Department.
A family member who lives nearby said a 65-year-old man and his 38-year old son suffered the most serious injuries with each of them breaking a leg, while the younger victim's wife was covered in soot and required treatment for smoke inhalation.
Her two-year-old daughter also experienced minor injuries.
While you can find plenty of people on line who repurpose washing machine drums as fire pits, we're told this family was using a decades-old model that contained a ring of lead shot for ballast, which may have made the explosion that much more dangerous, but investigators already have a pretty good idea what ignited it.

"There was some kind of identified accelerant that was used and that accelerant is what exploded," said Armacost, "They have determined that this was an accident.  There's nothing criminal involved.  There's no foul play involved.  There's no charges pending here."
At this hour, fire officials say the two men remain in serious condition at Shock Trauma, while a family member says the 33-year old female victim remains in the intensive care unit at the University of Maryland Medical Center.