A resident is missing after a house explosion that rocked the Randolph Hills neighborhood of Rockville early Friday morning, leveling one home and damaging several others nearby.
Pete Piringer, spokesman for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, said they received the first report of an explosion shortly before 1:00 a.m. Crews were on the way to the scene when several additional calls came in reporting an explosion and house fire in the 11400 block of Ashley Drive at the intersection of Grayling Lane.
Cont. -A big "BOOM" could be heard and felt as far away as Bethesda. Neighboring homes damaged. Explosion on same block happened 6 yrs ago. pic.twitter.com/FL7Mi7E2Sg— Mikea Turner (@MikeaTurnerTV) March 17, 2017
Officials said gas was being illegally used at the home after foreclosure. Washington Gas says there was unauthorized use of gas in home since December.
Ten houses and nine cars were damaged in the explosion. Officials say one house is uninhabitable.
Firefighters arriving at the scene found catastrophic damage from an apparent explosion and subsequent fire. According to Piringer, the massive debris field spread throughout neighboring homes, causing collateral damage to several residences.
A team of approximately 75 firefighters managed to quickly contain and extinguish the blaze within 20 minutes, Piringer said.
Right now firefighters are working to locate one resident, who at last check was unaccounted for at the explosion site. No other injuries have been reported.
Firefighters and crews from Pepco and Washington Gas are going door-to-door in the neighborhood looking for potential hazards and damage.
According to information posted on the real estate website, Trulia.Com, the home was scheduled for foreclosure auction.
This isn't the first time the Randolph Hills neighborhood has experienced the concussion of a house explosion. Another home disintegrated in the early morning hours of May 4, 2011, in the 11200 block of Ashley Drive. A young couple was seriously injured in the incident, which proved to be caused by a leak in a gas line to a clothes dryer.