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For Immediate Release
BGE Media Group
BGE Media Hotline 410.470.7433
The following statements were released by BGE to provide updates on the gas explosion that occurred at 8865 Stanford Boulevard, Columbia, Md., on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. Please attribute all statements to Aaron Koos, BGE vice president of communications:
Aug. 29, 2019
Today BGE crews and investigators safely gained access to more of the energy equipment previously in the exclusion zone to perform inspections required by regulation. Equipment was inspected, including additional portions of the underground gas and electric lines serving the building that were seen to be in the area of the fire following the explosion. Expectedly, some of this equipment was found to have sustained significant damage, with the additionally inspected gas piping unable to hold sustained pressures when tested. Upon excavation, additional underground communications lines for the building were found in the immediate vicinity of the gas pipes and electric wires and are a part of the investigation. More equipment remains to be examined, currently covered by areas of debris in the most heavily damaged and least stable areas of the building. The investigation into the specific possible causes, the gas and ignition sources, continues as more of the building can be safely accessed, including the utility room. The extreme damage of sections of the building remains to be a challenge in the process and we continue to be extremely grateful that no one was hurt in this event thanks to the swift action by first responders. Additional safety inspections of the surrounding natural gas system are continuing with no additional issues having been found. As always, we ask anyone who suspects a gas leak or who has any safety concerns to contact BGE from a safe location immediately at 877-778-7798. Our crews will respond to investigate, any time of day or night, and make the situation safe.
Aug. 26, 2019
BGE participated in Howard County Executive Calvin Ball's press conference. (Watch the video)
Aug. 25, 2019 (evening)
We have completed safety inspections of the area gas mains and surrounding buildings and have not found any issues with the gas equipment. Gas and electric service to the building remain off. Additionally, our records do not indicate any recent reports of gas odors from the location or in the past year. As recently as July 2019 we performed a scheduled inspection of the gas main and equipment serving this area and found no issues. We are continuing to work closely with investigators to understand the cause of the incident. Our thanks go to the prompt and skilled response by the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services and responding BGE crew members who moved quickly to clear the area to a safe distance and terminate gas and electric service. Their actions and the fortunate early morning weekend timing prevented a very serious incident from becoming worse. As always, immediate reporting of any gas odors or issues is critical to public safety. If you suspect a gas leak or have any gas concerns where you live or work, get to a safe location and report it to BGE immediately by calling (877) 778-7798 or by calling 911. BGE will respond 24 hours a day to investigate and make the situation safe. For additional information about gas safety and what to do in a gas emergency visit BGE.com/gassafety.
Aug. 25, 2019 (morning)
BGE received a gas odor call from the Howard County Fire Department this morning for the 8800 block of Stanford Blvd. While our crew member was on site, an explosion occurred. BGE crews have turned off gas service and are currently working closely with the fire department. Once it is safe to do so, BGE will investigate the cause of the incident.