MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — Fire Chief Scott Goldstein once again addressed a Montgomery County community about an explosion on Wednesday.
“Some of you have been with us for the events for the other events we’ve had,” he said to reporters. “It’s still too early to be able to rule out or rule in certain circumstances.”
Wednesday’s explosion was the second significant explosion reported this year. It’s at least the third since 2016.
In 2016, seven people were killed in an explosion at the Flower Branch Apartments. The cause of the fire was linked to a faulty indoor mercury regulator, years later.
In March 2022, an explosion injured more than a dozen people at the Friendly Garden Apartments.
“Natural gas is not a suspicion, what we have identified is that there was a gas-fed fire present to us once we got here. we had to then control the gas, to turn that fire off. Is it involved? That is part of our investigative process,” Goldstein said.
“We’re a little concerned… these are happening particularly in communities of color and low-income communities,” said Alex Vazquez, lead community organizer for CASA.
CASA is an organization that supports immigrant families throughout the DMV. It represented families who sued Washington Gas and others following the Flower Branch Apartment explosion.
Vazquez is looking forward to more changes in the county following the latest incident.
“Yesterday the county took on a workshop on a decarbonization, Bill 322 that would take steps to electrify all new construction, and essentially let the county exec create a new electrification code. That would allow new construction to take and remove gas,” Vazquez said.
“The Council remains committed to putting forth policies that protect tenants and keep families safe in their homes to prevent tragedies like this in the future,” The Montgomery County Council said in a statement to DC News Now.
Washington Gas is aware of the incident this morning in Montgomery County, Maryland. Our personnel responded to assist the fire department on the scene. As always, the safety of our customers and community is our top priority. We are supporting the active response to the incident and do not have further details to share at this time.Statement from Washington Gas