An apartment building burns in Silver Spring, Md., Wednesday. Fire officials say at least 20 to 25 people, including two firefighters, have been injured in the blaze, which officials say followed an explosion.(Photo: AP)
WASHINGTON — A third body was found Friday night in the aftermath of an explosion and fire at an apartment complex in Silver Spring, Md., authorities say.
Montgomery County Assistant Police Chief Russ Hamill declined to say at a news conference how many people may still be unaccounted for in the explosion, which happened late Wednesday night and injured more than 30.
Police have not identified the three victims. Hamill said that the condition of the bodies made it impossible to determine their age or sex.
The bodies have been transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore.
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The county’s acting fire chief, David Steckel, said that the recovery process has been slow because of how badly the building was damaged.
“The building still presents as a collapse hazard, which is a dangerous situation for the personnel,” Steckel said. “The movement of debris itself presents a challenge. Every time you move something, it has the possibility to impinge the integrity of the structure so we have to be careful and methodical.”
Hamill said that investigators have accounted for about 110 people residing in the building, and he said they are still asking family and friends to contact them “until we can account for everyone who is in the building.”
Erick Jimenez, who spent Thursday looking for his father, Caesar Jimenez, was losing hope Friday as his father continued to be unaccounted for.
“We’ve called everyone, but we don’t have any positive answer,” he said.
Witnesses described the explosion like a bomb going off, and people more than a mile away reported their homes shaking. Debris was scattered over 100 yards, including a door blown across a two-lane road and parking lot, and clothes hanging from a tree like Christmas decorations.
Officials are still investigating the cause of the incident.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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