A gas explosion at Friendly Garden Apartments in Silver Spring sent 14 people to the hospital, including two children. Three burn survivors are in critical condition. Fire investigators say a maintenance worker cut a gas pipe instead of a waste pipe while doing plumbing work.
During a news conference, the Montgomery County Fire Chief said the maintenance worker was using a snake to remove debris and fix a clogged drain in one of the apartments. The worker went to the unit below and cut what he believed to be a drain waste pipe but was actually a gas pipe. When a flash fire broke out, the worker returned to the first apartment where he found an injured resident. The explosion happened as the two were exiting the building.
All known residents of the four-story apartment building have been accounted for. Some residents escaped on their own, while others received help from neighbors. One resident jumped from a second-story window. The gas explosion displaced 200 residents who live in the six-building apartment complex on Lyttonsville Road. Fire crews deemed three of the buildings unsafe and uninhabitable.
Dogs trained to detect bodies alerted crews while walking on top of the rubble. Crews are working on removing debris by hand because authorities are concerned that a visitor may have been impacted by the explosion.
The Pritzker Hageman burn injury lawyers have over 40 years of experience investigating catastrophic explosions like the Silver Spring apartment explosion.
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Explosion Investigation Reveals Slew of Inspection Violations at Friendly Garden Apartments
After a gas explosion at Flower Branch apartments that killed seven people in 2016, Montgomery County passed a new law (Bill 19-15) that requires a triennial inspection. As part of the triennial inspection, the Director of the Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) must inspect each apartment complex and unit within a three-year period.
A spokesperson for the Montgomery County Executive told Fox 5 News that a triennial inspection of the apartment’s common areas was completed in September 2021. But a separate inspection of the apartment units was delayed due to the pandemic and a management change. This means that the apartment units at Friendly Garden Apartments have not been inspected by the DHCA since 2018, which is in violation of the county’s three-year requirement.
Fox 5 News uncovered that the Fire Code Compliance permit for the building that exploded (located at 2405 Lyttonsville Road) expired in 2019.
The Fire Chief told reporters that over the last decade, there have been two reports of gas leaks at Friendly Gardens Apartments, which is serviced by Washington Gas.
Contact an Experienced Explosion Lawyer As Soon As Possible
The Pritzker Hageman gas explosion lawyers help burn survivors and their families get maximum compensation and justice. Our legal team has won hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients in explosion lawsuits, including some of the largest recoveries in the U.S.
If you or someone you love was injured in the Silver Lake apartment explosion, one of the first steps you should take is to contact an experienced lawyer. Here are two reasons why it is important to talk to an explosion lawyer as soon as possible:
- Laws called “statutes of limitations,” which vary from state to state may limit the amount of time you have to file a claim.
- An experienced explosion lawyer will start a lawsuit investigation right away in order to find liability for things like failure to comply with safety regulations and product defects, among others.