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Propane Leak Blamed For Carroll County Building Explosion

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Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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WESTMINSTER, Md. (WJZ) — Investigators have some of the answers to an explosion and fire that sent two Carroll County women to the hospital.

Alex DeMetrick reports one of the victims suffered severe burns.

It was built in 1850 as a one room school house in northern Carroll County. Most recently, it housed a small business until Thursday afternoon when it was destroyed in a powerful explosion and fire.

According to the State Fire Marshal’s Office:

“The explosion was brought forth by a pooling of propane in the basement area of the one story building,” said Bruce Bouch, senior deputy fire marshal.

Two women were working inside. Heather Bree Harbin, 38, was sitting directly above the center of the blast.

“She received 40 percent burns to both her upper torso and face,” said Bouch.

According to the fire marshal’s office, 39-year-old Julie Ann Griffin escaped serious injury but was flown to Shock Trauma as a precaution. The fire went to two alarms before being brought under control.

Investigators have yet to determine how the propane leaked into the basement. As for what triggered the explosion:

“We’re still working on the actual ignition source. There were multiple electrical sources in that basement area that could have caused the ignition,” Bouch said.

Investigators say the tank holding the propane was well away from the building and was used to fuel gas powered generators.

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