Ruppert Landscape, Laytonsville, Maryland, will reconstruct a building on its corporate campus after an explosion Sept. 7. The explosion occurred after a propane gas leak, the cause of which has been investigated but not yet determined.
After smelling gas upon the return from the three-day Labor Day weekend, Ruppert’s facility manager, Bill Law, safely escorted one team member out of the building and cautioned others from entering. He called the gas company to come out for an emergency inspection.
Upon his reentry into the building, an explosion occurred. The gas technician who was outside the building at the time was thrown several feet, received treatment at the hospital and was released later that day. Law was flown to Washington Hospital Center and suffered serious trauma to his left leg. Over the course of the past 11 weeks, he has undergone several surgeries and is now in stable condition and improving daily. He faces several more months of intense physical therapy and rehabilitation to regain the use of his leg, but doctors are optimistic about his long-term recovery.
“We have received such an outpouring of support from the community—from the emergency responders from both the Laytonsville and Damascus volunteer fire stations who were on site the day of the incident, to community members who have reached out and dropped off food and made inquiries—I just wanted people to know how indebted we are for your concern and care,” says Craig Ruppert, CEO. “There is no better community than those here in Montgomery County and our team is very thankful for all of the care and concern that’s been directed to our company and to our teammate, Bill.”
While the structure was unsalvageable and had to be taken down, there are plans already underway to reconstruct the building to closely resemble the historic structure. The new building should be completed by mid-2022. Temporary trailers will house employees who were displaced as a result of this incident.
“We are cognizant of the fact that the building we lost was on the county’s historic registry,” says Ruppert. “The loss of that building and its long-standing history in the community is something we are still coming to terms with ourselves. To the best of our ability, we are going to replace it with a structure of about the same size, that acknowledges the building’s history and is in keeping with what the community was accustomed to seeing when they passed our property.
“As for our team, we are just grateful that Bill is steadily improving and that no one else was seriously injured. This incident could have been much worse, and we owe a lot to Bill’s quick thinking and fast response. He is a true hero.”
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