Owner of Rockville house destroyed in explosion shot himself, dog

WASHINGTON — The remains recovered from the wreckage of a Rockville, Maryland, house after an explosion and fire last week have been identified as the home’s owner, 61-year-old Steven Martin Beck.

The county’s chief medical examiner determined Beck died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Beck also shot and killed his dog, Montgomery County police said Monday afternoon. His remains were recovered from the home’s basement over the weekend.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue investigators are sifting through multiple dumpsters full of forensic evidence recovered from the scene of the blast. (Courtesy Pete Piringer/Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service)
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue investigators are sifting through multiple dumpsters full of forensic evidence recovered from the scene of the blast. (Courtesy Pete Piringer/Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service) (Courtesy Pete Piringer/Montgomery County Fire Rescue)
Montgomery County, Md. Police officers mark evidence near a house after an explosion in Rockville, Md., Friday, March 17, 2017. A house in a Maryland suburb of the nation's capital was leveled early Friday by a thunderous explosion heard for miles around, the blast shattering windows and causing other damage to several neighboring homes, authorities said. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Montgomery County police officers mark evidence near a house after an explosion in Rockville, Maryland, Friday, March 17, 2017. A house in a Maryland suburb of the nation’s capital was leveled early Friday by a thunderous explosion heard for miles around, the blast shattering windows and causing other damage to several neighboring homes, authorities said. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) (AP/Jose Luis Magana)
Montgomery County Fire and other agencies were on the scene at Ashley Drive Saturday in the aftermath of a house explosion that occurred Friday morning. (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire)
Montgomery County Fire and other agencies were on the scene at Ashley Drive Saturday in the aftermath of a house explosion that occurred Friday morning. (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire) (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire)
Caution tape surrounds the scene where a home exploded Friday in Rockville, Md. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)
Caution tape surrounds the scene where a home exploded Friday in Rockville, Md. (WTOP/Dennis Foley) (WTOP/Dennis Foley)
Ten homes and nine vehicles were damaged in the blast that leveled a Rockville, Maryland, house Friday morning. (Courtesy Seth Meyers)
Ten homes and nine vehicles were damaged in the blast that leveled a Rockville, Maryland, house Friday morning. (Courtesy Seth Meyers) (Courtesy Seth Meyers)
House Explosion
An explosives sniffing dog searches house debris after an explosion in Rockville, Md., Friday, March 17, 2017. A house in a Maryland suburb of the nation’s capital was leveled early Friday by a thunderous explosion heard for miles around, the blast shattering windows and causing other damage to several neighboring homes, authorities said. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
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Montgomery County Fire and Rescue investigators are sifting through multiple dumpsters full of forensic evidence recovered from the scene of the blast. (Courtesy Pete Piringer/Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service)
Montgomery County, Md. Police officers mark evidence near a house after an explosion in Rockville, Md., Friday, March 17, 2017. A house in a Maryland suburb of the nation's capital was leveled early Friday by a thunderous explosion heard for miles around, the blast shattering windows and causing other damage to several neighboring homes, authorities said. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Montgomery County Fire and other agencies were on the scene at Ashley Drive Saturday in the aftermath of a house explosion that occurred Friday morning. (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire)
Caution tape surrounds the scene where a home exploded Friday in Rockville, Md. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)
Ten homes and nine vehicles were damaged in the blast that leveled a Rockville, Maryland, house Friday morning. (Courtesy Seth Meyers)
House Explosion
Authorities said they were still trying to working to determine the timing and the circumstances of the explosion, which reportedly could be heard miles away and damaged several nearby homes on Ashley Drive.

The single-story brick home, which was in foreclosure, exploded shortly before 1 a.m. Friday — just hours before it was set to go up for auction. Authorities said last week there had been unauthorized gas use in the home since December, but investigators do no yet know whether that was the cause of the explosion.

Officials have said the pending auction will be part of the investigation.

“Investigators will look into the background of Mr. Beck and see what the circumstances were at the time of the incident,” Montgomery County police spokesman Rick Goodale told WTOP Monday afternoon.

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service is working with state officials as well as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to determine the cause of the blast.

Earlier Monday, fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said investigators were sifting through multiple dumpsters full of forensic evidence recovered from scene for possible evidence.

Neighbors reported seeing Beck at the home earlier in the week but not in the few days leading up to the explosion.

WTOP’s Megan Cloherty and Mike Murillo contributed to this report. 


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