Three people have been confirmed dead from the explosion and fire at a Silver Spring apartment complex. Their remains have been found, but it could take longer to find any other possible victims.
Five people are missing, according to WUSA9 reporters on the scene.
On July 25th a resident at the Flower Branch Apartment complex reported the small of gas to the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Department. Spokesman Pete Piringer said nothing was found.
The county's police and fire departments, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives are conducting a joint investigation.
Smoke rose from the rubble of the demolished building more than 13 hours after the catastrophic explosion.
"It felt like an earthquake," said Mildred Arteaga and her son, Michaelangelo Villavicen, who live in a nearby building.
"We saw a huge fire, it was red. I was scared for those people inside the building," Arteaga said.
It was a chaos. Many grabbed their families and scrambled in a stampede to get out, while others were trapped by flames and debris.
Jason Lopez, 13, lives across Piney Branch Road with his family. They heard the explosion and looked outside.
"The middle part was on fire. Many people were trying to get out,” Lopez said. “Two people were trying to get out. Many who were saying, ‘fire, fire.’"
They watched in horror, feeling helpless as they witnessed an act of desperation from the top floor of the burning building.
"One of the ladies threw a baby," Lopez said.
He could not see if anyone caught the child, but there are no reports of children dying from a fall.
As search and rescue crews made their way inside and sift through debris for human remains, fire crews continue to put out hot spots. The search crews were only working on the ground floor, as the upper floors are too dangerous.
Residents of the next door building, which had its power and gas cut off watched and waited, wondering about those still missing and hoping for any good news.
In addition to the two confirmed deaths, more than 30 residents were injured and three firefighters were injured. At least 90 people are now homeless.