At least 10 injured and 100 affected after the explosion and collapse of a building in Maryland

Firefighters at the scene of an apartment building explosion in Silver Spring, Maryland. on January 3, 2022.

Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Ten people were taken to hospitals, several are still missing and three buildings have been declared unsafe after an apartment building in Silver Springs, Montgomery County, Maryland, exploded, fired and collapsed on Thursday, according to WTOP.

Flames consumed a building at the Friendly Garden Apartments on Lyttonsville Road around 10:30 a.m. after a huge rumble alarmed residents throughout the area, according to NBC4 Washington.

“There are people missing,” Fire Chief Scott Goldstein said at 3:15 p.m. He couldn’t say how many, emphasizing it’s not known why they weren’t found, saying they may just be at work.

Goldstein added that Three of the people taken to hospital have serious injuries.

Three of the six apartment complex buildings were declared unsafe and about 100 residents of those buildings are displaced, Goldstein said. The chief said he hoped to allow residents of the other three buildings to return to their homes at night.

During the afternoon, firefighters were still actively searching for anyone who might be trapped in the rubble, but they were limited to certain areas due to security concerns. Crews brought in heavy machinery and tore down an unstable freestanding wall to aid in the search.

Goldstein said there were “possible indications of alerts” from search dogs, which could point to bodies or survivors.

Some witnesses said they smelled gas at the time of the explosion. Goldstein said the fire department had not received any calls about gas problems or gas leaks at the apartment complex since Jan. 1, 2021.

Work crews have installed security fencing around the perimeter and will remain overnight. Work will begin again Friday morning at dawn, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Pete Piringer said.

“This is going to be a multi-day event,” Goldstein said. “Our focus is to stay here until everyone is accounted for,” he added.

The Montgomery County government reported that a donation page was set up to help residents impacted by the fire and explosion in Silver Springs.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said his office has been in contact with Montgomery County officials. and offered assistance from state first responders.

The cause of the explosion is still under investigation, but authorities said they believe it may have been a gas leak.

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