Gas explosion in Maryland badly damages shopping center

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A powerful natural gas explosion badly damaged an office complex and shopping center in Maryland on Sunday, officials said.

The explosion happened at about 8 a.m. in Columbia, Maryland, and no injuries were reported.

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

Police and fire crews responded to multiple reports of hissing sounds coming from a large crack in a parking lot and made sure the buildings nearby were not occupied.

“Fortunately, because of their actions and because this happened on a Sunday morning when no one was inside the building, there are no reported injuries at this time,” Ball said.

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