Two people are being treated for injuries after a vehicle exploded inside a five-story parking garage in Baltimore’s Fells Point neighborhood, fire officials said Wednesday afternoon.
The explosion, referred to as a “high energy overpressure” event, shattered nearby glass and cracked the facility’s foundation but did not result in a fire, authorities said. Investigators and hazardous materials teams were dispatched to the scene around 3 p.m.
The explosion took place on the third level of the parking garage at 805 S. Caroline St., near Harbor East. Officials said to steer clear of the area and to avoid travel there due to road closures.
Baltimore City Fire Department spokeswoman Blair Adams said the explosion occurred when someone started a work van or SUV. The driver and a passerby were injured.
She said the vehicle contained three gas tanks. Officials said they have removed the tanks as they continue to investigate the source of the explosion.
Adams said both of the injuries are non-life-threatening and included minor burns and lacerations. There are no other threats to the public, she said.
“We’re extremely lucky; this could’ve been a lot worse,” Adams said, adding that the explosion was so intense that officials cannot identify the type of vehicle involved.
She said fire officials were collaborating with the Baltimore Police bomb squad.
Authorities evacuated businesses and residents within one mile of the explosion.
This is the second parking garage emergency to occur this month in the city. In mid-July, a portion of a parking garage near Baltimore’s Inner Harbor collapsed, trapping about 50 vehicles inside. There were no reported injuries.
As authorities responded to the blast, residents of the adjacent buildings said they were blocked from entering their units. Witnesses described hearing a loud “boom” before first responders descended on the area.
Cori Tabor, 28, used her key fob to allow authorities access to her apartment building and was able to retrieve her dogs. She has lived at the Point Place Residences in the 800 block of South Caroline Street for about six months, she said.
“I don’t know if I’ll need an apartment to stay at tonight or what, but we’ll see,” she said.
The Caroline Street parking garage, built in 2002, is owned by the city, online property records show. It is valued at more than $6.7 million.
This article will be updated.