At least 10 people were injured on Wednesday morning, nine of them in critical condition, in an explosion in a commercial building in downtown Baltimore that caused part of its roof to collapse, officials said.
Firefighters and ambulances responded to the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company building on Center Street after the explosion, which was reported sometime after 8 am. The wounded were taken to hospitals, the Baltimore Fire Department said.
Nine people were in critical condition and one was in serious condition, the department said. Mayor Brandon M. Scott of Baltimore said on Twitter that 21 people were rescued.
It was not clear what caused the explosion, which occurred on the 16th floor of a 21-story building, a Baltimore Fire Union said.
In a statement, BGE said it was “a construction-related incident”. Construction work was being done on the building’s air and boiler treatment system, “which probably caused the incident,” the company said.
“The building was almost empty due to the upcoming holidays and the pandemic,” said BGE.
Two workers were rescued after being trapped on a window-cleaning platform, the firefighters’ union said. Video from a local TV station showed the scaffold hanging sideways while firefighters smashed windows to reach workers.
City officials closed streets in the area and urged drivers to take alternative routes.