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Gas explosion tears through Maryland shopping center, Social Security office building

FoxBusiness.com

People a mile and a half away from a gas leak could feel the explosion that tore through a Maryland shopping center Sunday morning.

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.

The building appeared to be “totaled,” and could collapse according to Hardesty.

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.

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