Report: Fatal explosion in Baltimore followed HVAC work

January 13, 2021 GMT

BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore officials say that a gas explosion that leveled rowhomes last year had occurred not long after a contractor worked on an HVAC system in one of the homes.

The Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday that natural gas had built up in the home, and the blast was ignited on Aug. 10 after someone turned on a stove.

Baltimore City Fire Chief Niles Ford said the contractor was licensed, although the city has not located a permit for the work that took place. Officials have not identified the contractor.


“A spike in natural gas levels were detected between 1:30 and 2:00 in the morning of Aug. 10 from address 4232 Labyrinth Road,” Ford said.

Lonnie Herriott, 61, who was staying at that house, was killed. So was Morgan State University student Joseph Graham, 21. Seven others were injured.

“It can’t be ruled out that improper or incomplete installation of the new HVAC system was the cause for the gas leak,” said a report that was released by the fire department. “It also can’t be ruled out that unknown person/s tampered with the gas piping the night before the explosion causing the gas leak.”