Static electricity, severed gas line blamed in blast


Officials believe static electricity may have led to a gas explosion yesterday in Savage that injured a Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. employee.

BGE and Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services personnel responded to a gas leak at 9: 42 a.m. at Baltimore and Baldwin streets, where they discovered that county utility workers had ruptured a 4-inch line 3 feet below the surface.

"They were digging a hole and struck a gas line," said Capt. Kenneth Byerly, a Fire and Rescue spokesman.

About an hour later, an explosion ignited a tree and injured a BGE employee. Falling debris damaged two trucks.

The employee, whose name was not released, suffered minor burns and was taken to a hospital as a precaution.

Officials contained the fire within a minute and stopped the gas leak about 1 p.m., Byerly said. During that time, Baltimore Street was closed.

BGE officials said about 500 customers were without service for three hours.

Pub Date: 7/27/99

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