An explosion in a high-rise building in Baltimore injured 23 people on Wednesday and temporarily trapped a window cleaning staff.
The blast caused a partial roof collapse, the Baltimore Fire Department tweeted. 21 people were driven to the hospital and two others refused treatment.
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The department responded to the downtown building, where the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company has offices, around 6 p.m. 8.30, and two buildings on both sides were evacuated. The firefighter union tweeted that evidence pointed to an explosion on the 16th floor.
The fire department said the cause of the explosion is still under investigation. Tool woman Stephanie Anne Weaver said working on the building’s “air handling and boiler system” was likely the cause of the crash.
The blast was not related to natural gas, the company Fox News said in a statement. “The building’s gas service was not active due to the construction work.”
The trapped window workers were rescued through a window and firefighters continued to search the building Wednesday afternoon.
“Scaffolding for window washing was compromised due to the incident and a window cleaner was pulled to safety by the fire department,” Weaver said in a statement. The building was virtually empty due to the holiday and the coronavirus pandemic.
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Keith Osterman, 38, and Robert Friedel, 58, were working in a neighboring building and were outside when they heard the explosion.
“It was loud, and everything about it was shaking,” Osterman told the Baltimore Sun.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.