No leaks at blast BG&E says

October 05, 1990|By Patrick Ercolano | Patrick Ercolano,Evening Sun Staff

The Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. says it is not responsible for Monday's explosion in Irvington and the utility has advised residents to use their homeowners insurance to recover damages.

The explosion occurred in a rowhouse at 321 Martindale Ave. and killed an elderly woman who lived at that residence. BG&E investigators have determined that the utility's equipment -- which includes outside gas lines and the meter in the brick and cinder-block house -- was not at fault in the explosion, said BG&E spokesman John Metzger.

"Our equipment was found to have been working properly," Metzger said. "After the blast, we turned off the meter in the house, came back some time later and found no traces of gas leaking from it. Then we pressure-tested our lines by forcing more pressure into them than they would ever ordinarily take, and they held fine."

If there was a natural gas leak at the site, he said, "It had to be coming from equipment in the house -- a stove, a water heater, something along those lines. In that case, BG&E would not be liable for any damage claims. Neighbors who had damage would have to put in their claims with their insurance agents."

Marianne Wilderson, 73, a resident at 321 Martindale, died in the explosion. The blast heavily damaged two other houses and a dozen or more homes sustained less serious damage, primarily shattered windows.

The Fire Department investigation of the blast may continue to next week, said department spokesman Capt. Patrick Flynn.

"We're still looking for a cause. It's one of those things where we may never know what caused it," Flynn said, adding: "From all indications, I'm satisfied that BG&E equipment did not play a part in the explosion."

BG&E investigators are done with their work at the scene, said Metzger.

"Now it's up to the Fire Department to find the cause of the explosion," he said.

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