On Tuesday June 20th, a steam pipe explosion in Downtown Baltimore buckled the street, creating a large crater out of which a large plume shot into the air for a full hour before emergency crews could control it. The cloud was quickly confirmed to be steam, allaying concerns of dangerous chemical exposure and burn injuries. Rubble and debris was scattered over the South Eutaw Street area, car and business windows were shattered and fire fighters had to spray down a hotel façade to prevent the paint from melting in the severe heat caused by the steam.
While there were no deaths, five people suffered non-life-threatening injuries due to the pipe explosion. One victim, a vendor who was steps away from the explosion, was pelted by hot rocks and rubble, injuring his back and both legs.
As the accident occurred during rush hour, and only 75 minutes before the start of the Baltimore Orioles game at Camden Yards, traffic was highly congested in a large part of the area. The newly renovated LocalLink public transportation service was disrupted with major diversions and delays as well, and the Camden Line of the Marc train was delayed the following day. Despite traffic difficulties, minor property damage and some injuries, the situation was handled and controlled rather quickly.
90 minutes after the incident occurred, a Baltimore County Public Works official said the scene was still too hot for crews to get close enough to perform a full investigation of the pipes and ascertain the cause of the incident. At the behest of the Baltimore City fire department, BGE, a natural gas and electric utility in Central Maryland, sent a crew to the scene of the accident, but they quickly confirmed that no BGE equipment was involved in or harmed during the event. Veolia North America, the company that controls the steam pipe network in Baltimore, sent emergency crews to the scene and had the steam shut off to the affected area.
While the exact causes of the explosion are still unknown and under investigation, Baltimore City Spokesman T.J. Smith commented that no criminal action is suspected at this time, and that the explosion is likely to be an unforeseen, and unintentional, accident.
If you, a friend or a family member was injured by the Eutaw Street pipe explosion, it is important that you speak with an experienced personal injury attorney regarding your rights. Azrael, Franz, Schwab & Lipowitz LLC has been one of the leading victim’s advocate firms in the greater Baltimore area for decades, and is committed to representing those who suffered due to the negligence or wrongdoing of others.