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A powerful natural gas explosion badly damaged a Maryland office complex and shopping center Sunday morning, ripping away part of the facade and exposing twisted metal.

Fortunately, no injuries were reported in the thundering blast, which occurred at about 8 a.m. It came after authorities said they had evacuated the area around the complex because of a suspected early morning gas leak near the complex in Columbia, Maryland.

Fire crews responded about an hour before the explosion because of a fire alarm that was upgraded to a report of a gas leak in the parking lot, officials said. When fire personnel arrived, they immediately evacuated everyone from the surrounding area and made sure the building was vacant. The subsequent explosion ripped away a significant part of the facade, scattering debris.

“It was so powerful it could be heard in communities many miles away,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball in a statement.

It’s true that some of the best teaching moments are when you make a mistake and learn from it. Please don’t let a gas leak be one of them moments. Take it from us and help take precautionary action. Pictured below is the AGS Mini Merlin, a combined natural gas & carbon monoxide monitor capable of shutting down the gas supply in the event of a gas leak therefore preventing a gas explosion from ever happening. The Mini Merlin has an audible & visual alarm indicating the live PPM levels of each gas and can be used to communicate with BMS/BAS systems as well as fire alarm panels & remote shut-off buttons.

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