Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Sept. 30, 2020

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Survivor said she smelled gas before Baltimore explosion

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A firefighter walks near the debris in the aftermath of an explosion in Baltimore on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. Baltimore firefighters say an explosion has leveled several homes in the city.
A firefighter walks near the debris in the aftermath of an explosion in Baltimore on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. Baltimore firefighters say an explosion has leveled several homes in the city. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) Photo Gallery

BALTIMORE — A woman who survived an explosion that leveled three Baltimore row homes said she smelled gas before hearing a “loud boom” on Monday morning.

Anita Moore told The Baltimore Sun on Tuesday that “everything else was a daze” after that.

The 55-year-old’s account of smelling gas supports statements by authorities that the event was caused by a natural gas explosion. But Baltimore Gas and Electric said it’s still trying to determine the cause.

The utility said in a statement late Tuesday that “no leaks were found” in the gas main or service pipes that brought gas to the row homes. BGE said earlier Tuesday that it was providing information to investigators regarding “the flows of gas and electricity on customer-owned equipment.”

In the meantime, the city continues to grapple with an explosion that claimed two lives and sent seven people to hospitals, including five in critical condition.

One of those killed was Joseph Graham, 20, a rising sophomore and engineering student at Morgan State, a historically Black university in Baltimore.

“We are all just devastated by this tragedy,” said Mark Miazga, who was Graham’s ninth-grade English teacher and baseball coach at Baltimore City College.

Miazga told The Associated Press on Wednesday that all of Graham’s English teachers at the high school are mourning his loss. He said that Graham was a nice and hardworking student who took challenges head-on and was willing to make himself less than comfortable to do well. That included performing Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet in front of class.

“He was a very memorable young man,” Miazga said. “This is a loss, not only for his family and friends, but for Baltimore.”

A woman also died in the explosion. She was pronounced dead at the scene on Monday morning and authorities have not identified her. The Fire Department has not released the names of the seven people who were rushed to area hospitals.

Moore, the woman who survived, was among those rescued from the rubble.

“I was completely covered. All I could see was the bricks and everything laying on top of me. … I should not have been able to walk away from that. They got me out,” she told The Baltimore Sun. “My family members — they’re going through it, but they’re alive. I’m grateful to God. I’m grateful to everyone.”

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