Edgewood house explosion caused by disconnected gas range, candle

EDGEWOOD, MD—Investigators with the Office of the State Fire Marshal have determined the cause of an explosion that leveled a home and critically injured an Edgewood man on Sunday evening.

Deputy State Fire Marshals have concluded that 67-year-old Delbert L. Markley, Jr., the homeowner, lit a candle after he improperly disconnected a gas range, subsequently allowing the home to fill with natural gas. Markley told investigators he had disconnected the stove in preparation for a new range to be delivered Monday.

Markley was in a rear bedroom of his home located in the 2500-block of Thornberry Drive when the initial burst of flames and force of the blast caused second- and third-degree burns and traumatic injuries. After the explosion, Markley was able to self-extricate himself from the remains of the home, where bystanders met and assisted him until the arrival of first responders.

Markley was treated by members of the Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company and was quickly transported to Johns Hopkins Bayview Burn Center to treat his injuries. He is currently in critical but stable condition.

Both of Markley’s dogs were inside the home at the time of the explosion. One was rescued the night of the explosion, and the OSFM is sad to report that, due to injuries sustained, had to be euthanized on Wednesday morning. The other dog emerged from the rubble while investigators were on the scene the following morning and is currently being cared for at the Humane Society of Harford County.

“Natural gas and propane are treated with a substance that has a distinctive odor that smells like rotten eggs. If you can smell it in your home, go outside and call 911 immediately”. stated State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci. “Don’t smoke or use any electrical appliances, even a light switch or thermostat, because any spark could lead to an explosion.”

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