At least 21 people were injured in an explosion on Wednesday in a commercial building in downtown Baltimore, according to local CBS affiliate WJZ-TV.
The Baltimore City Fire Department responded to the scene immediately after an explosion and a partial roof collapse was reported shortly before 8:30 am in the Baltimore Gas & Electric building with more than 20 victims trapped inside.
Twenty-three people were rescued from the building and 21 were taken to the hospital for treatment. Two of the victims refused medical care, although nine are in critical condition and one is in serious condition, the local media reported.
No deaths were reported, according to a statement sent to the WJZ by the Baltimore Mayor’s office, Brandon Scott (D).
Explosion Update: A total of 23 victims were rescued from the explosion at 100blk from W. Fayette St. 21 of the victims were transported to hospitals in the area and 2 victims refused. #BCFD members continue to search the building. The cause remains under investigation. pic.twitter.com/STKTnArlS1
– Baltimore Fire (@BaltimoreFire) December 23, 2020
Some of the victims were cleaning windows at the time of the explosion and clung to the remains of fallen scaffolding while waiting for help for about 30 minutes. The fire department rescued workers by breaking a window on the 10th and 11th floors.
Local news and eyewitness reports reported that some victims were carried out on stretchers and two victims were treated on the ground for burn injuries before going to the hospital.
EXPLOSION WITH RESCUE
39 W Lexington St 21201#DowntownBaltimore @DowntownBalt@CouncilmanETC# BCFDR1 reports evidence of an explosion on the 16th floor with 2 workers trapped in scaffolding. #BCFDSOC on the way to rescue them. #BCFDEMS treat 2 people on the ground with burns. pic.twitter.com/vs7rNGMKCM
– Baltimore Firefighters IAFF Local 734 (@ BCFDL734) December 23, 2020
Baltimore Gas & Electric told WJZ that it did not believe the explosion was related to gas, noting that construction work was being done on the building’s air treatment and boiler systems. According to the Baltimore fire department, the incident occurred on the 16th floor.
In Scott’s statement, he thanked the fire department and the first respondents, saying: “Without your bravery and quick response, the result could have been much worse. As the Fire Department investigation continues, my office will provide updates” .