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Md. apartment complex residents recall horrific explosion, fire

The aftermath of the explosion and fire at the Flower Branch apartment complex. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)

SILVER SPRING, Md. – A deadly fire and explosion damaged a Silver Spring apartment complex early Thursday morning, and its residents made their way back to the area to get a better look at the destruction in the daylight.

About 90 people have been displaced after a fire and explosion severely damaged two four-level apartment buildings in the Flower Branch Apartments — 8701 and 8703 Piney Branch Road, near University Boulevard.

Neighbors who lived near the two damaged structures say they saw big flames and people leaving their buildings early Thursday morning.

One man, who didn’t want his name to be used, said he watched people trying to leave their building, stuck on their balconies.

“They couldn’t do anything. I saw one of the guys throwing a baby,” he said.

Many of the evacuated residents tried to help other people leave or turned backed to make sure their own families were safe.

“Horrible,” one resident said. “I never experienced anything like that.”

Officials have made the Long Branch community center a shelter for residents seeking assistance as well as friends and family trying to locate loved ones.

“There’s professionals there that are logging everyone in, in a formal way,” Montgomery County Councilman Tom Hucker told WTOP. “Whether they stay here or choose to go somewhere else, we’ll have their contact info. They can also find out who else has checked in here in case they are looking for someone in particular.”

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