Home's fire, explosion causes millions in damage

Posted at 11:33 PM, Sep 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-24 23:33:54-04

Investigators are getting closer to finding the cause of Wednesday’s massive explosion and fire in Columbia.

A spokesman for the Howard County Fire Department says the problem started in the garage of the home that exploded.  A piece of equipment related to the home's natural gas service had been damaged, and was leaking explosive natural gas into the garage.

Neighbors smelled the gas and called 911.  A BGE technician responded, checked the homes, and found high levels of natural gas in the garage.

He ordered everyone out of both homes -- seconds later the explosion happened, followed by a massive fire that damaged even more homes.

“We're glad he made that decision because we're very fortunate that we're not talking about a fatality with our employee or the residents here,” said Justin Mulcahy, a spokesman for BGE.

The BGE worker had to be taken to the hospital with burn and blast injuries; a second person was also treated for smoke inhalation.  Both have been released.

Damage is estimated at $2-million.