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Maryland Explosion Shatters Apartments; 2 Dead, 34 Injured

Maryland Explosion Shatters Apartments; 2 Dead, 34 Injured

Firefighters on scene of apartments blast. (Montgomery County Fire and Rescue via AP)

By    |   Friday, 12 August 2016 05:36 AM

A Maryland explosion shattered an apartment building in Silver Spring, leaving two people dead and 34 injured. Several people couldn't be accounted for.

Almost 100 people were forced from their residences at Flower Branch Apartments on Wednesday night, reported the Washington Post. The blast and three-alarm fire were reported at 11:55 p.m., according to WJLA-TV.

Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms investigators joined others early Thursday trying to determine what caused the inferno, said the Post, and whether the fire or the explosion came first.

Authorities now suspect a natural gas leak caused the explosion and fire, the Post reported on Friday.

“The working proposition” is that natural gas was involved in nearly leveling the building, said Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett.

The Post said it took until early Thursday evening for investigators to stabilize the rubble enough to recover and remove the two bodies.

Several residents are still unaccounted for, officials said, and the two victims had not been identified.

Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein told WRC-TV the blast was felt at least a mile away. He said 160 fire and rescue units converged on the damaged complex.

"People were dropping children and jumping out of other windows,'' Goldstein told WRC-TV. "Everybody was getting out of the building as rapidly as possible.''

Montgomery County Fire Capt. Oscar Garcia said men, women and children are among the five to seven people who are unaccounted for.

He said the fire was under control about 2 a.m.

The Post said the explosion ripped a gaping hole in parts of the buildings, littering wood, glass, and bricks at least 50 yards. Clothes could be seen hanging from nearby trees and shoes scattered in the street.

Silver Spring's Holy Cross Hospital told the Post that 11 patients had been treated and released there after suffering minor injuries. Medstar Washington Hospital Center reported that it treated five patients but did not release their conditions.

Washington Gas spokesman Jim Monroe told the Post the utility was supporting the investigation but declined to say if there had been any problems at the apartment complex previously.

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A Maryland explosion shattered an apartment building in Silver Spring, leaving two people dead and 34 injured. Several people couldn't be accounted for.
maryland, explosion, shatters, apartments
351
2016-36-12
Friday, 12 August 2016 05:36 AM
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