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Explosion and fire at Maryland apartment leaves at least 30 injured, 90 homeless

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An explosion and fire at an apartment complex in suburban Maryland left "multiple" people injured, according to fire officials.

As of 5 a.m. Thursday morning, MCFRS Chief Scott Goldstein says up to residents are still unaccounted for.

The incident, which was originally reported on Twitter by Montgomery County Fire's Pete Piringer around midnight Wednesday, resulted in a raging three-alarm fire at the Flower Branch Apartments in the 8600 block of Piney Branch Road.

Some of the injuries were the result of residents jumping out of windows, according to Chief Goldstein. Children were also reportedly being dropping from windows for fear of their safety, while others were able to access work ladders from trucks in the neighborhood.

It's unclear at this time if there are any fatalities, Piringer said. Search dogs were deployed to find the missing.

Up to 30 people were injured, including burns and fractures from those who jumped from windows, Goldstein said. At least three firefighters were injured. 

Building debris was scattered throughout a nearby parking lot following the explosion. Witnesses described hearing a loud "boom" and some nearby even report they felt their home shake.

Firefighters say they felt the explosion at the Four Corners Fire Station 16, which is about six miles away. It was initially thought to be a transformer explosion.

The cause of the explosion remains under investigation.

Washington Gas says that natural gas to the apartment building was shut off around 1:45 a.m. There are gas stoves and furnaces in each apartment, according to Chief Goldstein.

Around 3 a.m., hours after the fire reportedly broke out, fire officials said that "hot spots [were] being controlled" and the process would be an "extended operation."

Temporary shelter for those affected by the fire has been put into place at the Long Branch Comunity Center at 8700 Piney Branch Road.

An estimated 90 residents were displaced.

One hundred firefighters and 90 units responded to the fire, according to Goldstein.

ABC7 contributed to this report

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