Explosion, fire body count to seven

IMAGE: The Long Branch explosion and fire scene August 12. Photo by Bill Brown.

AUG 17—UPDATE: County police confirmed that a seventh body was found Tuesday, Aug. 16 within a building destroyed by a Aug. 10 explosion and fire.

The condition of the seven bodies makes identification difficult. None have yet been identified by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore where they were taken.

Although all eight known missing persons have now been located, search and recovery efforts continue at the Flower-Branch apartment complex scene in Silver Spring, MD. The investigation into the cause of the fire also continues.

One of the eight missing persons was located safe and unharmed Aug. 15.

AUG 15—UPDATE: Search crews found a sixth victim in the Long Branch debris. One of the missing persons, Oscar Armando Ochoa, was found unharmed. According to a Montgomery County Police Department release, Ochoa had moved from the apartment complex prior to the incident.

AUG 15—Three more bodies were found this weekend under debris at the Long Branch fire and explosion scene, a county fire and rescue service spokesperson announced today.

None of the five bodies found since the conflagration have been identified. Eight residents remain missing after the incident devastated part of the Flower-Branch apartment complex late-night August 10. It is presumed the five bodies recovered include the missing, and that three more remain to be found.

The bodies have been transported to the Baltimore Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for autopsy and possible identification, according to the Montgomery County Police Department.

None of the five bodies found since the conflagration have been identified.  It is presumed the five bodies recovered are on the list of eight missing and that three more remain to be found. The incident devastated part of the Flower-Branch apartment complex beginning just before midnight August 10.

Photos of the missing have been released. Authorities hope any of them missing only because they have not reported their whereabouts might be recognized.

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There is no photo available of Oscar Armando Ochoa, age 55.

Crews continued to search today, according to Pete Prininger, Chief Spokesperson for Montgomery County, MD Fire and Rescue Service. The heat wave that has made the search arduous continues today.

Gas utility crews are testing lines in the area today, as well, says Prininger. The apartment complex is on Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring’s Long Branch neighborhood.

The cause of the explosion is ongoing. Three agencies are involved in the investigation, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal and the Montgomery County fire and rescue service.

8 Comments on "Explosion, fire body count to seven"

  1. A March 14 explosion and fire?? Doesn’t anyone proofread or fact check articles before posting?

  2. The proofreader’s job happens to be open. Do you have flexible hours and are you willing to work for nothing?

    The Editors

    • Just change the date of the explosion and fire to August 10th (now you’ve got it as Aug. 14–which is still wrong).

  3. You’re hired! 🙂

  4. Thanks admin for the coverage!

  5. Elias Vlanton | August 19, 2016 at 11:24 am |

    The Takoma Voice is a great public service, even with a few typos.

  6. I wrote to the City Council about why they quickly passed a resolution to assist Syrian refugees after the Paris attacks–note: we have no Syrian refugees–and why they didn’t pass a resolution to help our neighbors in Silver Spring who were impacted by the apartment fires. Not one of them responded. I can’t stand this group of morons. Charity begins at home, but these folks are too busy chasing their tails to be politically correct to notice that PC begins at home too.

  7. The city council is on its August break, so they have no meetings at which to pass a resolution. The Takoma Voice is also on break and hasn’t been able to report on the council”s involvement. But, we happen to know that immediately after the disaster Mayor Kate Stewart asked citizens for donated clothes and other goods for the victims. She personally collected and delivered them. Councilmember Terry Seamens has been involved through the Adventist social service organization, we understand, but we don’t have specifics. Councilmember Jarrett Smith has been keeping the community informed of relief efforts and he visited the Long Branch Community Center at least once in the past couple of weeks – as you can see on his Twitter feed.

    We don’t know about the other councilmembers, but just because we haven’t heard about it doesn’t mean they were not active. Some are out of town on vacation.

    It is not true that none of them responded.

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