Body Recovered in Debris After Gaithersburg Condo Explosion; Cops Investigate ‘criminal Act’

Body Recovered in Debris: A body was found in the rubble of an apartment building in Gaithersburg, Maryland, a day after an explosion left 12 people injured. They are starting a criminal investigation, Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones said Thursday night.

Explosion at Gaithersburg Condominium Leaves One Dead, Others Missing

A corpse was retrieved from the rubble of the Potomac Oaks Condominium in Gaithersburg, Maryland, Thursday.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service and police held a news conference Thursday afternoon to announce the discovery. Police are investigating “criminal, purposeful conduct,” said Chief Marcus Jones. “Because a corpse was found in the apartment building, we’re working with the Montgomery County Fire Rescue Fire Marshal’s team. We’re looking at this occurrence for a criminal inquiry based on information, said Jones.

The flat is in building 826, one of two Quince Orchard Boulevard buildings that partially collapsed. Two related buildings were evacuated due to structural problems. Jones said there’s still a lot of material to review, and detectives feel “this is criminal conduct.” Officials didn’t identify the deceased or say if it was a resident, tourist, or family member. The body will be transferred to Baltimore. Jones said teams are looking for other victims.

Officials were trying to reach the owner of one apartment in one of the partially collapsed buildings, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Chief Scott Goldstein said. They didn’t know if anybody else was present at the time of the incident. Condo owners often rent their apartments.

Officials claim 14 individuals were harmed. Two adults were among the 10 hospitalized. As of Thursday morning, everyone saves one man who was released from the hospital, Goldstein said. The bomb occurred in a row of garden-style residences on Quince Orchard Boulevard around 8:40 a.m. Residents reported a loud explosion, debris, thick smoke, and flames.

The 1967 facility was built with big, heavy concrete slabs, which exploded in the explosion.

The explosion’s cause remains unknown. “We still need to search the building. Goldstein added that parts of the structure still need to be cleared of rubble and checked for unaccounted-for tenants or workers.

The fire chief said crews found a gas-fed fire in one of the units’ basements after the blast, but it’s too soon to determine if that caused it. “We can’t say this was a gas explosion or leak,” Goldstein said. “It’s too early to say that was the primary incident that caused this emergency.”

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Body Recovered in Debris
Goldstein said investigators must go through the wreckage to find ignition sources. Each apartment had gas cooktop stoves that must be recovered from the blast area, and communal laundry facilities had gas dryers. “We want to focus on all ignition sources, all possible causes of a fire, leak, or explosion,” Goldstein added. Officials stated there were no gas-smell 911 calls Wednesday morning. On Sept. 22, a stove in building 826 leaked gas, Goldstein said.

A crew working behind the 826 building had dug a part of the parking lot around the time of the incident, but the fire chief said investigators don’t believe the activity caused the bomb. Investigators don’t believe the workers hit a gas line, Goldstein said. Several dozen persons were displaced. Four buildings, including two partially fallen ones, were declared off-limits by fire and rescue services.

Gaithersburg High School’s Activity Center in Bohrer Park helps residents. 12 families (34 individuals) checked into the shelter Wednesday, but the number was anticipated to rise. Montgomery Housing Partners collects cash for families. This is Montgomery County’s third residential explosion since 2016.

14 persons were hospitalized after an explosion and fire in Silver Spring’s Friendly Garden Apartments. A plumber accidentally severed a gas line, investigators said. In 2016, seven people were slain at the Flower Branch condominiums in Silver Spring. A malfunctioning mercury service regulator caused the explosion.

Goldstein stated Potomac Oaks’ gas regulator is a “sprog spring regulator.” Washington Gas workers inspected the building 826 regulator and meter. Sprog spring regulator verified… Goldstein: “That’s not a mercury regulator.” County Executive Marc Elrich said it’s too soon to link the blasts.

“When we uncover the reason, we check if there’s a thread that unites all three occurrences,” Elrich added. “I don’t know if the third will lead anywhere.”

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