Explosion destroys home in Washington DC suburb

Horror scene: A house in Rockville, Maryland exploded at 12:38am on Friday
  • A house in Rockville, Maryland exploded at 12:38am on Friday
  • Immediately after the blast the home caught on fire, and the structure later had to be leveled by emergency crews  trying to put out the blaze
  • The explosion caused debris to be scattered throughout the neighborhood, and the windows of nearby homes to shatter
  • No injuries have been reported at this time, but one person who lives in the home that exploded has still not been accounted for as of 7am Friday
  • Investigators are now working to determine what may have caused the structure to explode 
  • The home was set to go up for auction at 1:30pm on Friday, just 13 hours after the blast destroyed the property 

A house in a Maryland city just 17 miles outside the nation's capital was leveled early Friday by a thunderous explosion that could be heard for miles.

The explosion occurred a little before 1am in the sleepy Washington DC suburb of Rockville, scattering debris throughout the neighborhood.

The blast was so powerful that it also shattered the windows of nearby homes in addition to causing other damages.

No injuries have been reported at this time, but the individuals who lived at the single-occupant home has still not been accounted for and both of his cars remain in the driveway.

The property was scheduled to be auction at 1:30pm, 13 hours after the blast.

  Gone: Immediately after the blast the home caught on fire, and the structure later had to be leveled by emergency crews trying to put out the blaze 

Gone: Immediately after the blast the home caught on fire, and the structure later had to be leveled by emergency crews trying to put out the blaze 

 Site: The home (above befofre the explosion) was set to go up for auction at 1:30pm on Friday, just 13 hours after the blast destroyed the property

Site: The home (above befofre the explosion) was set to go up for auction at 1:30pm on Friday, just 13 hours after the blast destroyed the property

'It's just a pile of debris; it's just a pile of bricks. There's not anything left of the house,' said Pete Piringer, chief spokesman for Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service. 

'I've heard there were calls from miles away, people calling.'

He described the home damage as 'catastrophic' and added at least a dozen other homes were damaged because of the 'large debris field' from the blast. 

Investigators were just beginning to probe the rubble, he added, noting a cause of the blast had not yet been determined.

Piringer spoke by phone from the scene in a neighborhood of Rockville, where about 75 firefighters took about 20 minutes to put out the fire in the rubble.

'The status of the occupant is unknown,' he said, adding authorities had no further information.

He also said investigators would be exhaustively checking the rubble in daylight hours to try and better determine the cause.

Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein was able to rule out one possibility, saying early Friday: 'There is no concern about a gas involvement in this explosion.'  

As a safety precaution, fire and utility officials also went door to door asking neighbors to leave the area, displacing a number of local residents.

In a bizarre twist, another home exploded in the same neighborhood back in 2011, less than half-a-mile from the site of Friday's blast.

The 2011 incident was later determined to have been caused by gas. 

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By Mathias Dillion 03/17/2017 03:11:00
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