Dec. 23 (UPI) — An explosion and partial roof collapse at a 21-story building in downtown Baltimore on Wednesday left at least 23 people injured, several critically, fire officials said.
The Baltimore City Fire Department said 21 of the victims were transported to area hospitals as emergency officials continued to search the building. Nine people were in critical condition and one was serious.
The blast happened around 8:30 a.m. at the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company Building.
Witnesses told WJZ-TV in Baltimore that they saw scaffolding fall from the outside of the building after the explosion. Firefighters rescued two workers who were cleaning the building’s windows from the scaffolding. They were dangling from harnesses for about 30 minutes before their rescue.
Fire department spokeswoman Blair Adams said the explosion caused a fire inside the building and a partial roof collapse.
BGE spokeswoman Stephanie Anne Weaver told The Baltimore Sun that the explosion was likely related to construction work on the building’s air handling and boiler system.
She said not many people were inside the building at the time of the blast because people were working from home due to the pandemic or were off for the Christmas holidays.
Fire Chief Niles Ford said the blast affected all floors from the 10th up to the roof.