Natural gas buildup caused explosion earlier this month Inquiry determines trigger was accidental

November 18, 1998|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

An explosion earlier this month that destroyed three Northeast Baltimore rowhouses was caused by a buildup of natural gas in the kitchen of one of the dwellings, a Fire Department investigation has concluded.

Battalion Chief Hector L. Torres, a Fire Department spokesman, said the Nov. 3 explosion in the 5300 block of Ready Ave. was accidentally triggered by an occupant who turned on a stove, igniting the gas.

But Torres declined to comment on how the gas leak occurred. "We believe that it was an accidental release of natural gas," the spokesman said.

The explosion occurred about 6: 45 p.m. at 5318 Ready Ave. in Govans and destroyed two adjacent homes. A woman who lived there with her fiance and two children was injured in the blast.

The incident had raised questions about Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., which had sent a utility mechanic to the street to check on a report of a gas odor. But company officials said the call came from a house down the block, whose resident smelled gas outside.

Jessica Brown, a BGE spokeswoman, said the worker used a meter to check storm drains and the outside, but left the street about 5: 20 p.m. without detecting anything. BGE officials said no one called in complaints of gas leaks inside a residence.

Pub Date: 11/18/98

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