Baltimore Sun

Vehicle explodes inside parking garage, injuring 2

- By Lilly Price and Cassidy Jensen

A vehicle exploded Wednesday afternoon after a driver turned on the ignition in a city-owned parking garage in Baltimore’s Fells Point. The driver and a bystander suffered injuries that are not considered life-threatenin­g.

Blair Adams, a Baltimore City Fire Department spokespers­on, said there were three gas canisters inside the vehicle, described as a contractor’s work van or an SUV. It was not immediatel­y clear what kind of gas was inside the canisters.

The vehicle was parked on the third floor of the five-story garage and exploded just after 3 p.m. at 805 S. Caroline St. The blast shattered windows and cracked the building’s cement floor. The driver was taken to a hospital with minor burns to his face and neck, along with laceration­s.

“The explosion was so intense there’s not that much we can make out of the vehicle,” Adams said.

Other vehicles parked on the third floor also were damaged.

There is no active threat to the public. Members of Baltimore Police’s bomb squad and the fire department’s hazmat team were on the scene investigat­ing the cause of the explosion. Representa­tives from the Maryland Department of Environmen­t, Maryland State Police and Baltimore Gas and Electric are aiding the investigat­ion.

Just before 6 p.m. Wednesday, the City of Baltimore sent an email telling drivers parked on the first and second level of the garage that they could retrieve their cars using the garage ramp or stairs.

“If you are parked on the 3rd floor or higher, your car is not accessible at this time,” the alert said.

Fire officials evacuated the parking garage and buildings within a one-block radius. People in neighborin­g buildings said they heard the blast from across the street.

Camp counselor Celia Bowers was working at Baltimore Urban Gardening for Students when the class heard a boom.

“It was loud enough to be like, ‘Was that an explosion?’ ” Bowers said.

Another camp counselor saw glass on the street after the blast, Bowers added.

Parents of children at the camp arrived for an emergency pickup shortly after. A mother hugged her son behind the yellow tape that roped off the parking garage.

The explosion was the latest parking garage accident in the Baltimore area this month, after an Inner Harbor parking garage partially collapsed and a fuel spill caused a fire that burned three cars at a garage in Towson Town Center.

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