UPDATE, Nov. 16, 5:10 p.m. — Fire Chief Scott Goldstein said at a news conference that Buildings 824, 826, 828, and 830 remained evacuated. Members of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) were accompanying people who live in 824 and 830 into their buildings in order for them to collect belongings they needed to take with them to wherever they would be staying temporarily.
Goldstein did not have an update on the two patients who had critical injuries as a result of the explosion and fire. He said it was too early to draw conclusions into what caused the explosion or what contributed to it.
Goldstein said the call MCFRS received about a gas leak in one of the units in Building 826 at the end of September came on Sept. 22. In that case, the gas leak involved an appliance. Crew members who responded turned off the gas to the appliance. They did not contact Washington Gas because the issue was with the appliance, itself. They told the person in the home to contact the appliance vendor or someone else who could address the problem.
The fire chief said that property management had no reports of gas concerns and had no one doing any kind of work related to gas within the past two weeks.
UPDATE, Nov. 16, 2 p.m. — Montgomery County officials said at a news conference that there would be “a smoldering fire in the building” for “quite a bit of time.” They expected burning pockets to exist for at least hours to a day longer.
Four buildings, including the one in which the explosion took place, were affected directly by the incident: 824, 826, 828, and 830.
Members of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service went through all even numbered buildings in 700 block of Quince Orchard Boulevard to check for gas leaks or concerns. They found none. Fire officials said people who were allowed to come back to their homes Wednesday night could feel confident that there were no issues involving gas.
County records showed no calls about gas concerns within the past 30 days. There was a call about a gas leak towards the end of September. That call came from Building 826, the building in which the explosion took place.
Washington Gas had completed its shutoff of service that it began doing Wednesday shortly after the explosion.
A civil engineer was there to assess the building and determine how it could be shored up so that fire operations could continue safely.
Emergency workers accounted for all people who lived in Building 828. They were trying to reach the person or people who lived in one unit in Building 826. They had accounted for all other people who lived there.
UPDATE, Nov. 16, 11:30 a.m. — Because of the incident, nearby Brown Station Elementary announced early dismissal of all students starting at 12:30 p.m.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — Emergency workers were on the scene of a building explosion and fire Wednesday morning at Potomac Oaks Condominiums in Gaithersburg.
Approximately 100 firefighters were dispatched to the scene in the 800 block of Quince Orchard Blvd. Crews said there were reports of injuries.
A significant portion of the building caught fire after the explosion. A portion of the building collapsed.
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Chief Scott Goldstein was on scene to deliver an update on the situation.
Ten people were transported to the hospital, and two people who refused to be taken to the hospital were treated on the scene. Two of the people who were hurt had critical injuries.
Among those hurt were four children.
Goldstein said a maintenance worker rescued two people.
Nine apartments were compromised as a result of the explosion and fire. It wasn’t clear how many people, in total, would be impacted.
Washington Gas is working to shut off the gas being fed to the fire.