Nick DiMarco and McKenna Oxenden
Three adults and two children were injured in a three-alarm fire late Sunday in Northwest Baltimore, according to city officials.
Details were scant early Monday, but officials said the fire may have been linked to an explosion.
Baltimore Gas & Electric crews shut off gas and electric services in the area, according to a Monday morning update from the company. Crews worked throughout the night to canvass the area, and found no readings of gas, the statement read. In addition, gas service pipes leading to the homes were pressure-tested, and crews didn’t find any leaks, the statement read.
“BGE’s records for this area show no recent leaks, no repairs or active project work and no gas odor calls in the last 12 months,” the statement read.
“It’s still a pretty active scene,” Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer said around midnight. “There seems to be some type of explosion that was triggered by a lit cigarette. … There is just a lot of smoke at the scene.”
Schleifer said he was in his home about 1.5 miles away from the scene when suddenly he felt his house shake. “I ran outside, my neighbor ran outside, it felt like an explosion,” he said.
Baltimore Fire Department spokeswoman Blair Adams said the cause of the fire in the 4300 block of Lanier Ave. remains under investigation, but didn’t rule out the possibility of an explosion. “That information is coming from the people in the neighborhood,” she said.
“Although it’s very close to what we had a few months ago it’s not a confirmed explosion,” Adams said hearkening to an incident on Labyrinth Road that killed two people.
Adams described the victims’ injuries as serious but non-life threatening. She said the initial 911 call came in around 10 p.m.
Firefighters from “all across the city” were called Sunday night to Northwest Baltimore for the three-alarm fire, which spread to several townhomes across the street from Edgecombe Circle Elementary, according to the firefighters’ union.
Schleifer and other city leaders began coordinating relief efforts near the intersection of Greenspring and DuPont avenues.
“We just had an explosion a couple of months ago on Labyrinth Road and so we know how devastating it is,” Schleifer said. “City leadership is here to support the residents with anything they need. We’re out here trying to help anybody who needs to be relocated … and other services.”
It’s unclear how many people were displaced by the fire.
Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott said his priority was to care for those affected by the fire.
“We have to make sure we are looking out for those people,” Scott said. “Everything else will come to light as we move forward, but we should leave it to the professionals.”
Scott, who is the Democratic nominee for mayor, said it was too soon to draw any parallels to the Labyrinth Road fire.
“Second time or first time, reality is we have an incident like this and it’s a tragedy,” he said.
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