Police find 7th body after Silver Spring apartment fire, explosion

WASHINGTON — A seventh body has been found within a damaged building of a Silver Spring apartment complex on Tuesday, where a fatal fire and explosion took place last week, Montgomery County police said. None of the victims found in the aftermath have been identified yet.

A sixth body was found on Monday, police said, and another missing person was found safe.

The blast at the four-story Flower Branch Apartments, on Piney Branch Road, last Wednesday night also injured more than 30 people, including three firefighters.

Investigators said the missing people ranged in age from 3 to 66.

The bodies of the victims have been taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for autopsy and possible identification.

Police believe that the seven bodies found are among the eight people who were unaccounted for. The condition of the bodies has prevented authorities from making positive identifications, and crossing names off the missing list, so far. The victims won’t be identified for several weeks.

Detectives were able to find one of the missing residents, 55-year-old Oscar Armando Ochoa, and confirmed in person that he is unharmed.

Ochoa told Montgomery County police he had moved from the apartments and was not there at the time of the fire. The lease information had not been updated to reflect his move.

About 100 people were displaced in the incident, officials said last week.

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the blast; some residents reported smelling gas before the explosion.

Search efforts, and the investigation itself, have been slowed by consecutive days of 100-degree heat and high humidity, along with unsafe conditions at the site, where the building has been in danger of total collapse.

Police say that search and recovery efforts will resume Wednesday.

WTOP’s Teta Alim and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2020 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up