SILVER SPRING, Md. — At least 10 people were hospitalized after an explosion ripped through a Maryland apartment complex Thursday morning, authorities said.
Flames tore through a building at the Friendly Garden Apartments in Silver Spring at about 10:30 a.m. EST, WRC-TV reported.
Three people were seriously hurt, and seven others have injuries ranging from “moderate to minor,” Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein said during a Thursday afternoon news conference. Goldstein said “several” people were unaccounted for but could not give an exact number, the television station reported.
According to So Young Pak, the director of media relations communications and public affairs for Washington Hospital Center, three patients were treated at the MedStar Washington Burn Center, WUSA reported.
Three of the apartment complex’s six buildings were declared unsafe, Goldstein told reporters.
Goldstein said firefighters found fire throughout all levels of the four-story apartment building, WBAL-TV reported.
Heavy fire was found on the first and second floors of the building, Montgomery County Public Information Officer Pete Piringer told WUSA-TV.
About 100 residents in the complex were displaced, WRC reported.
“The first thing was that big boom. I could actually feel it on my back, and it made me come out of my work shed,” Andre Kinard, who lives across the street from the apartment complex, told WRC. “That’s when I saw everything to smithereens, and then the first two or three people screaming.”
“I was asleep when it happened. (All) I heard was ‘boom,’” Paul Demosthene told WBAL. “I looked through my window and said, ‘Oh, it’s a fire, I have to get out.’”
Up to 150 fire personnel continued to battle “deep fire,” Goldstein said, adding that searches for survivors were ongoing.
“It was kind of horrifying. I mean, when you look at a building and see it gutted with the walls down and all the debris piled up, all I could think is, ‘What happened to the people?’” Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich told WRC. “Hopefully, they’re at work. If they were home, you got to ask yourself, like, what happened to them?”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
©2022 Cox Media Group