BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Work to remove debris and secure a partially collapsed roof at the Baltimore Gas & Electric building in downtown Baltimore continued Thursday after an explosion Wednesday injured at least 21 people.
BGE said a high-rise crane will be deployed to Baltimore later this week to remove the scaffolding. For now, the damaged scaffolding is tightly secured to the building at 2 Center Plaza and the area is cordoned off by Baltimore Police.
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“Although we’ve made the situation as safe as it can be, the weather is obviously a factor and the building is not up to its 100% standards,” BGE’s vice president of communications Aaron Koos said.
Work with the crane is set to begin around 7 a.m. Saturday. After it’s set up, the crane will be used to remove the scaffolding and set it in the plaza below.
The crane is set to be removed on Sunday.
It was just before 8:30 a.m. Wednesday when an explosion could be heard and felt downtown near West Lexington and Fayette streets.
Eyewitnesses say when they looked up they saw debris flying and smoke.
An explosion rocked the high-rise, shaking scaffolding on the side of the building holding two window washers who were later rescued by the Baltimore Fire Department. Twenty-three construction contractors were rescued from the building and 21 were taken to area hospitals for treatment.
Since then, 12 of the contractors were treated and released overnight. The other injured contractors remain at the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.READ MORE: Advocates Call For Eviction Moratorium For Afghan Refugees In Baltimore As They Wait On Documents, Benefits
Dekeana Gaines was glued to the TV Wednesday as she watched crews rescue the window washers.
“I’m like, ‘Is this really happening?’ It’s like watching a movie,” she described.
Diamonique Jones works a block away. On her way to work, she noticed the commotion.
For many downtown, the first sign something was wrong was the gridlocked traffic in the area.
“I didn’t know what happened and I’m hearing people asking, ‘Was that an explosion?’ So it was pretty confusing,” Jones recalled.
The investigation continues into the cause of the event. BGE said Wednesday the blast was not gas-related.
Most of the building was empty Wednesday due to the pandemic and the holidays, but there was ongoing construction on the building’s air handling and boiler system.
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Debris removal is underway to secure the building roof and cover windows to prevent additional damage from weather. The area surrounding the building is still closed to traffic. @wjz pic.twitter.com/pML1GEA8z2
— Rachel Menitoff (@RachelMenitoff) December 24, 2020
The building has been inspected and is structurally sound, with repairs now taking place to secure the damage to the building roof and open windows from potential weather impacts.