A gas explosion tore through a Baltimore neighborhood on Monday, killing at least one person, injuring four and trapping children as the blast destroyed at least three homes, firefighters and media said.
The Baltimore Sun reported it was a natural gas explosion, citing fire officials, but said the exact cause remained unknown.
The blast destroyed three brick row homes and ripped open the wall of another, spreading debris throughout the neighborhood as rescuers picked through a pile of rubble, searching for victims, news pictures showed.
One woman was killed, four people were hospitalized in serious condition, and firefighters were trying to rescue a sixth person, the Baltimore City Fire Department said on Twitter.
At one point at least five people were trapped, some of them children, the Baltimore Firefighters IAFF Local 734 said on Twitter.
Neighbors responding to the blast dug through rubble and called out for victims, one man told WBAL television.
“It was just chaos,” Dean Jones told the NBC affiliate, saying he ran barefoot to the scene where he found destroyed homes and broken-out windows, and smelled gas.
“We were just worried about just trying to get people out. Once they said a kid was in there, I lost it. I said I had to get in there now,” he said. “I am not a hero, I’m a human.”
One neighbor who happens to be a building inspector told the Baltimore Sun he could hear shouts from trapped children.
“Come get us! We’re stuck!” came the cries, Kevin Matthews, a U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration building inspector who lives on the block, told the Sun.
Matthews found one person buried from the neck down and another sheltering in a closet, the Sun said.
People felt the blast miles away and neighbors said their windows were blown out and doors blasted off the hinges, the Sun reported.
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