Maryland condo explosion: 8 adults, 4 children hospitalized as investigation continues
One of the witnesses described hearing a huge noise, 'It was a very loud boom. I've never heard anything like that'
MONTGOMERY, MARYLAND: Firefighters in Gaithersburg reached after an explosion was reported around 8.40 am local time in Maryland. According to authorities, a "catastrophic explosion" and fire has injured 12 people, including four children, residing inside an apartment complex. WUSA 9 reported the incident that explosion and fire have led to partial building collapse as told by Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein at a news conference.
It was also revealed that at least 100 firefighters responded to the fire, which was taken control of by 9.30 am. Two adults were taken to the hospital in critical condition, and two other people and four children suffered only mild injuries and were moved to the hospital as well for intensive care. As per the department chief, no deaths have been reported, “The building has sustained a significant explosion resulting in a structural collapse.” Goldstein said that the residents of 24 apartment units have been displaced by the fire and explosion, reports the New York Post.
Primary searches of the building were completed by the fire department and secondary searching was conducted in the early morning hours, added WUSA9. In a recent update, Goldstein revealed that displaced families were being provided with shelter at Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg. One of the witnesses described hearing a huge noise, "It was a very loud boom. I've never heard anything like that.” A nearby home surveillance camera had captured the moment of the explosion and the same was shared on Twitter.
Fire officials confirmed that natural gas was fueling the fire in the basement of the apartment, and the Washington Gas team were working to get hold of the situation. It added that all stoves and driers that use gas in the building affected had been closed already.
"It is too early to make conclusions. Too early to make information about what caused this," Goldstein said on Wednesday evening, November 16. In a statement, Washington Gas said, "Washington Gas responded to a reported fire with possible explosion at the 800 block of Quince Orchard Boulevard, Gaithersburg, MD to assist the fire department this morning. Qualified crews on scene shut off the gas by an outside valve. Qualified technicians have conducted a leak survey at the incident location and surrounding area. No issues have been found.”
It concluded with, “As always, the safety of our customers and community is our top priority. We will continue to support the active response to the incident and do not have further details to share at this time."
The record shows that it was the second fire explosion incident in Montgomery County, the earlier one took place on March 14, at the Friendly Garden Apartments in Silver Spring.