An explosion and a partial roof collapse at a Baltimore high-rise Wednesday morning left at least 21 people injured, nine critically, and trapped two window washers, local firefighters say.
First responders continued searching the building for hours after the suspected blast at the utility company BGE's offices downtown. The company said the incident was likely caused by ongoing construction.
Firefighters first reported they rushed to rescue two window washers who were trapped in scaffolding after a possible explosion on the 16th floor, authorities said.
Photos: Explosion at Baltimore High-Rise Leaves Several Injured
A total of 23 people were rescued from the building and 21 construction workers were taken to hospitals for treatment of injuries, Baltimore Fire said. Two others refused emergency transport.
BGE said the building was mostly empty because it's a holiday week and due to remote work during the pandemic.
The two window washers were trapped on scaffolding knocked askew by the explosion, Baltimore Firefighters IAFF Local 734 and BGE said. Photos from the scene show the suspended scaffold dangling, lopsided, from the building.
Firefighters pulled the window washers to safety, BGE said. The scaffolding remained in a dangerous position for hours, IAFF Local 734 said. Crews are working to secure and remove the scaffolding.
Baltimore Fire reported numerous additional injuries at a building in the 100 block of W. Fayette Street.
Windows were blown out at the building, photos show and WBAL reported.
Two people at the scene were treated for burns, IAFF Local 734 said.
BGE said the explosion happened during construction work on the building's air handler and boiler system, which was the likely cause of the blast.
The building was inspected and is structurally sound.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Baltimore and Maryland State Fire Marshal are set to investigate the explosion.
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