5 Dead, 12 Missing as Fire Engulfes Apartment

The bodies of two people were found Thursday morning in the ruins of an apartment complex fire in Silver Spring, Maryland, according to Montgomery County Assistant Police Chief Russ Hamill. The bodies have not been identified. Fire officials said earlier Thursday that at least five people were missing.

At least five people are missing and dozens were injured after an explosion sparked a massive fire that engulfed an apartment complex in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C., fire officials said.

As many as seven people were still unaccounted after the blast early Thursday morning in Silver Spring, according to Peter Piringer, a public information officer with the Montgomery County Fire Department.
Thirty-one residents and three firefighters were transferred to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries, Piringer said. About 90 people have been displaced by the blaze.

The fire at the four-story Flower Branch apartment complex happened shortly after midnight, Piringer said. Natural gas contributed to the three-alarm fire, he said, although investigators are still trying to determine the exact cause of the inferno.

About 150 firefighters rushed to the scene, where several residents had to be rescued from the upper floors. Other residents dropped children out of windows and then jumped to safety, Montgomery Fire Chief Scott Goldstein Says

Witnesses told WJLA that they heard a loud “boom” and felt their homes shake. Firefighters at a station about six miles away told WJLA that they also felt the explosion.

Video from early Thursday morning shows one building engulfed in flames. The blast blew a gaping hole in parts of the building.

Photos taken at the scene later Thursday show shattered glass, bricks, wood and other debris scattered across streets, and clothes and other items hanging from trees.


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