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2 Rescued From Scaffolding After Explosion

Explosion injures more than 20 in Baltimore office building
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2020 1:25 PM CST

(Newser) – Two workers were pulled in through windows after an explosion at a high-rise office building in Baltimore on Wednesday left their scaffolding dangling 10 floors above the street. The explosion sparked a fire and a partial collapse of the building's roof, the Sun reports. The fire department said 21 people have been hospitalized, nine in critical condition. The building is home to the offices for Baltimore Gas and Electric, which said work being done on air-handling systems probably was the cause. The utility said that the building was mostly empty because of the pandemic and the holidays, and that the gas had been turned off due to the work being done.

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Neighboring buildings were evacuated, and a construction worker in one of them said, "Everything around here shook." The workers on the scaffolding were still connected to wires on the building when they were rescued. Crews climbed the scaffold to get to one, then cut through a window on the 11th floor to bring the worker inside. The other was pulled through a 10th-floor window. "Nobody fell, nothing," a witness on the street said. The fire chief reported that the two workers are in "pretty decent condition." Mayor Brandon Scott credited firefighters and other first responders, per WTOP. "Without their bravery and quick response, the outcome could have been much worse," he said. (Read more explosion stories.)

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