There was a major house explosion in Rockville early Friday morning.
The occupant of the home has yet to be accounted for, and surrounding homes were damaged by debris from the explosion.
In this photo provided by the Montgomery County fire & Rescue Service, emergency personnel work at the scene of a leveled house in Rockville, Md., Friday, March 17, 2017. The house on Ashley Drive near Grayling Lane exploded and burned shortly before 1 a.m., said fire department spokesman Pete Piringer.
"I could feel it underground", she said of the explosion in the neighborhood of modest, mostly one-story single family homes.
About 75 firefighters needed only about 20 minutes to put out a fire in the rubble. Authorities are still looking for the man who lived at the house, which was supposed to be auctioned off. Investigators began searching the rubble after daybreak with a search-and-rescue K9. "I've heard there were calls from miles away, people calling".
His house, listed as his primary residence, was scheduled to be auctioned at 1:30 p.m. Friday, according to RealtyTrac, the company that would have auctioned it. Montgomery County court records show the foreclosure case was closed. He said debris could be seen hanging 100 feet up in trees in the neighborhood, and that the explosion even moved some cars parked along the street.
The damage displaced several residents.
Fire officials say the explosion could be felt over a mile away.
The cause of the explosion is under investigation, including by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Gas service at the home was turned off in June 2015, but Washington Gas spokesman Brian Edwards said unauthorized use had been detected at the home since January. Piringer also said there were no reports of any gas leaks before the blast, and Goldstein said he didn't believe utilities were to blame.
"Washington Gas is working on the property right now", Goldstein said.