Howard County emergency officials were able to evacuate people nearby just 30 minutes before the blast in Columbia, preventing any injuries.
Fire Battalion Chief Stephen Hardesty noted the circumstances would have been much different if it were a workday. He said the gas leaked out from a “crater” in the parking lot that's about 10 feet long and several inches wide. Residents called for help when they heard hissing sounds from the hole. A Social Security office is also located in the building.
Baltimore Gas and Electric spokesperson Richard Yost told The Baltimore Sun one crew member was on site for the explosion, and that gas service was cut off as they investigate the cause.