Huge explosion DESTROYS office building in Maryland shopping center – just minutes after emergency services had evacuated the area
- The blast happened just before 8am on Sunday at the Lakeside Office Building and shopping center in the 8800 block of Stanford Blvd in Columbia, Maryland
- A fire alarm went off before 7am
- Fire fighters responded to the scene shortly after a 7.30am emergency call
- They found gas hissing out of a crack in the parking lot
- Workers evacuated the building minutes before the gas exploded and caused the front of the office to collapse
- No injuries were reported
- Witnesses said they felt shockwaves a mile away from the incident
- Fire officials said the building is at risk of collapsing further and probably will be ‘totaled’ due to the extensive damage
Workers at a Maryland office space are lucky to be alive after narrowly escaping a powerful gas explosion that authorities said ‘totaled’ the building.
The incident started just before 7am on Sunday when someone pulled the fire alarm at the Lakewood Office Building and shopping center in Columbia Maryland, a town located about 19 miles southwest of Baltimore, authorities said.
Howard County Fire and Rescue emergency crews responded to the scene where fire fighters found gas hissing out of a crater in the parking lot.
They made sure the shopping center was completely evacuated just before the office exploded around 8am. The blast collapsed the front of the office and the surrounding building spaces.
A handful of workers and at a Maryland office space a lucky to be alive after narrowly escaping a powerful gas explosion that authorities said ‘totaled’ the building
Howard County Fire and Rescue emergency crews responded to the scene where fire fighters found gas hissing out of a crater in the parking lot
Howard County Fire and Rescue Services Battalion Chief Stephen Hardesty said there weren’t many people around when the explosion occurred and everyone was lucky it didn’t happen during regular business hours.
‘If it had been a normal workday, the evacuation and the clearing of the area would have been a little bit harder and we definitely would have had a different circumstance,’ Hardesty told reporters during a noon press conference. ‘We were about a thousand feet away. We backed everybody out, secured everybody away, got everybody away from it.’
Flames could be seen burning in the parking lot after the explosion.
Amazingly, authorities said no one was injured at the scene. The blast and shockwave were heard and felt more a mile away, witnesses said.
The shockwave and blast were heard and felt a mile away
The shopping plaza contained a gym, a coffee shop and multiple restaurants in addition to leased out office space
The blast not only destroyed the complex, it also broke windows, damaged trees and caused a power outage at other businesses in the area
The shopping center’s gas line was secured by the afternoon, but Hardesty said the entire building was damaged by the explosion and is in danger of collapsing.
‘The building is probably totaled,’ he said.
‘It was some type of outside incident where the gas migrated into the building or ended up into the building,’ Hardesty added. ‘Natural gas when it leaks into the ground, it can migrate, it can follow utilities along… The whole time we were here utilizing air monitoring equipment to make sure we were in the safe zone.’
The shopping plaza contained a gym, a coffee shop and multiple restaurants in addition to leased out office space.
The blast not only destroyed the complex, it also broke windows, damaged trees and caused a power outage at other businesses in the area.
The precise cause of the gas leak is still being investigated.