- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 18, 2023

The basement of a row house in South Baltimore exploded Saturday, leaving the structure condemned and its occupants displaced. 

The explosion went off at about 9 a.m. under a rowhouse in the 1500 block of Ridgely Street, immediately causing a fire in the basement. Responding firefighters from the Baltimore Fire Department saw the fire coming from the sidewalk near the rowhouse, but were able to keep it contained to the basement. 

Firefighters also spotted an electrical wire hanging close to the ground. The department’s preliminary theory was that the wire sparked leaking natural gas, setting off the explosion. The definitive cause of the blast has not yet been determined, Baltimore Fire Department spokesman Kevin Cartwright told radio station WBAL on Monday.

A person was inside the row house at the time of the blast, but escaped unharmed. No other injuries were reported.

“An occupant of that dwelling was actually outside of his home, drinking coffee, went inside the house and, within moments, that’s when this actual explosion occurred,” Mr. Cartwright said.

A city inspector dispatched to the scene confirmed that the rowhouse was no longer safe, and Baltimore Gas and Electric crews also were there. The utility continues to help investigate the cause of the blast.

• Brad Matthews can be reached at bmatthews@washingtontimes.com.

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