A home in Rockville, Maryland was destroyed by an explosion Friday morning and its occupants remain unaccounted for.
A house was completely destroyed and its occupants remain unaccounted for following an overnight explosion in Rockville, Maryland, a suburb of Washington D.C.
The explosion was reported around 1:00 A.M. EST in the 11400 block of Ashley Drive in the Randolph Hills neighborhood. Neighbors told FOX 5 that the force of the explosion damaged windows and shook their homes.
Fire officials noted that they received 911 calls from residents nearly two miles away and that the explosion could be felt roughly a mile away.
Several houses in the vicinity of the explosion suffered damage and a large debris field currently surrounds the home, according to emergency crews. Officials have said that they are aware that neighbors reported that ammunition and firearms were kept in the home, though they do not believe this would have contributed to the explosion.
“It’s just a pile of debris; it’s just a pile of bricks. There’s not anything left of the house,” Pete Piringer, chief spokesman for Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service, said. “I’ve heard there were calls from miles away, people calling.”
Piringer described the house damage as “catastrophic” and explained that at least a dozen other homes were damaged due to the “large debris field” from the blast. The cause of the blast has not yet been determined.
“The status of the occupant is unknown,” he added. Investigators are working to find the occupant and determine the cause. Piringer also said there were no reports of a gas leak, though a gas explosion remains one possibility that has not been ruled out at this time.
Paul Ricci, who recorded images of the smoking debris and clean up efforts, lives in the area and compared the impact to the 2011 earthquake that ripped through the D.C. area.
“It jolted me right out of bed. We immediately got up and started wondering what was happening,” Ricci said. “We took a look around outside and noticed a glow. Someone came running by and said a house blew up – that immediately sent a shiver up our spine.”
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