BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Cleanup efforts continue five weeks after a gas explosion jolted a northwest Baltimore neighborhood, leveling homes and killing two people.
Three homes were destroyed in the August 10 blast and a fourth home had to be demolished. Twenty-year-old Joseph Graham and 61-year-old Lonnie Herriott lost their lives.
The power of the blast traveled from the epicenter and damaged dozens of additional homes. Homeowners in the area are still trying to repair their homes.
“I heard like a big boom, like an explosion,” Joshua Duarte recalled. The teen was home alone when the explosion happened across the street. “It was scary, it was the most scary thing I have ever had in my whole entire life.”
Windows in dozens of homes along the 4200 block of Labyrinth Road were shattered, parts of the ceilings crashed into the rooms, and many families have been in hotels for weeks.
“We lived in the house for almost 20 years,” Edwin Duarte, a homeowner on the block, said.
He has now used the hours after his regular job to repair his home.
“I am so grateful that nothing worse happened you know… that the house is still livable,” Duarte said. “That was my first time that I saw something like that in my entire life. I have never seen anything like that.”
“I thought it was an earthquake,” 77-year-old neighborhood resident Joyce told WJZ.
The fact that many homes still have planks over windows and doors, is “… actually a sign of the times and the supply chain,” Councilman Yitzy Schleifer, who represents the district, said.
There is progress, Schleifer said, but some of it is simply invisible.
“I have spoken to many owners on this block and the bigger issue that they are seeing now in wait times is the wait to get to supplies in, so windows are back-ordered,” Schleifer said.
Joyce said that was likely the case at her home as well.
“I think they are progressing on the inside and the can’t see it from the outside,” she said.
The tragedy on one block spread throughout the city, people instantly helped others after the explosion.
“Seeing how the whole city came together and the community came together, I think that’s the lasting memory that everybody is feeling right now,” Schleifer said.
BGE said they found no issues on its side of the equipment. The investigation on the exact cause of the blast could take months.
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