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.
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.