A gas explosion on the 4200 block of Labyrinth Road, Northwest Baltimore, left two people dead and at least seven injured on Monday, August 10. The Baltimore City Fire Department called the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) at 9:54 a.m. to respond to the scene of the explosion.
The two victims of the explosion were 61-year-old Lonnie Herriott and 20-year-old Joseph Graham, a rising sophomore at Morgan State University. Of the injured survivors who were sent to the hospital, four were discharged as of August 12.
Rising sophomore Juneau Wang was in their apartment off of St. Paul St. when the incident occurred. They heard about the incident on the Citizen app before getting notifications from local officials via text messages.
“It is disappointing that the gas line was likely neglected by city maintenance for a long time for it to get to this state, and it's sad to see the amount of infrastructure decay that's permeated Baltimore City in recent times,” Wang wrote in an email to The News-Letter.
In a statement released at 6 a.m. on August 13, BGE stated that it found that its equipment had been operating safely and was not the cause of the natural gas explosion that occurred. The cause of the explosion remains unknown.
“The investigation into the specific events leading to the explosion will continue by the Baltimore City Fire Department and other local, state, and federal agencies, and BGE will continue to provide assistance to the ongoing investigation,” the company's statement read.
Soon after the explosion, several GoFundMe pages were created to help cover the damage to the houses and support the affected families. One particular page, started by Madison King, was reposted on the Instagram stories of several students at Hopkins in hopes of raising funds. Several of King’s relatives were injured and lost their home due to the explosion. As of Thursday afternoon, the page has managed to raise $13,994 of the targeted $50,000.
Reflecting on the official response, Wang mentioned that it was too soon to make a comment on how the aftermath is being dealt with.
“Overall, from what I have heard and seen, it seems like the community is really trying to rally together around those who have been displaced by this event,” they wrote.