‘Felt like we were bombed': Explosion rocks Md. apartment complex

More than 100 firefighters and other rescue personnel responded to the scene of a partial building collapse, heavy fire conditions and multiple injuries


By Brendan Rascius
The Charlotte Observer

An explosion rocked an apartment complex in Maryland on Wednesday, Nov. 16, causing a partial building collapse, heavy fire conditions and multiple injuries, officials said.

Firefighters were dispatched to a two-story apartment building in Gaithersburg, located about 25 miles north of Washington, D.C.,, around 8:40 am following reports of a blast, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Fire Department said on Twitter.

Upon arrival, firefighters witnessed “heavy fire conditions,” spokesman Pete Piringer said.

Part of the building was collapsed, according to a release from the fire department. Cinder blocks, sections of brick walls and window screens were strewn on the ground near the building.

“It felt like we were bombed,” a man from a nearby office told NBC Washington.

More than 100 firefighters and other rescue personnel responded to the scene and the “bulk of the fire” was doused by 10 am, Piringer said, though some hot spots remained.

“It appears as though the firewalls in this particular case held up pretty well,” Piringer said.

Eight people, including four children, were transported to hospitals with non-life threatening injuries, while two more were rushed to trauma centers with serious injuries, according to NBC Washington.

“There was a gas-fed fire in the basement,” Fire Chief Scott Goldstein told ABC7, adding that once the gas is turned off at the street level, any lasting hot spots can be extinguished.

“It felt like that earthquake that happened like ten years ago,” a nearby resident told the station. “And we saw all this smoke coming through the sky.”

Searches of the area are ongoing, according to officials.

Piringer, spokesperson for the fire department, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from McClatchy News.

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