Maryland apartment explosion: 30 hurt, 7 missing in rubble - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Maryland apartment explosion: 30 hurt, 7 missing in rubble

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(NBC) -

Thirty residents were taken to the hospital and up to seven more were unaccounted for early Thursday after an explosion ripped through an apartment building in Silver Spring, Maryland, officials said.

More than 160 fire and rescue workers were called to the scene to help fight a fire that followed the blast, Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein said.

Rescue dogs were searching the rubble of the Flower Branch Apartments to help find between five and seven missing people including men, women and children.

Three firefighters were also transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Kitchens in the building's apartments were reportedly fitted with stoves powered by natural gas, but the cause was not immediately clear.

Video taken from the scene early Thursday showed firefighters continuing to hose down the charred debris of the brick building. Rows of windows appeared blown out and belongings were strewn in nearby tree branches and piled on the ground.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Chief Dorcus Howard Richards told The Washington Post that firefighters in a nearby station heard the explosion and were on the scene quickly, just after midnight.

When firefighters arrived to the four-story building, they received reports of people trapped inside, said Montgomery County Fire Capt. Oscar Garcia.

Officials declared the scene a "mass casualty incident," NBC Washington reported.

In total, 98 residents have been displaced from 28 apartments, Goldstein told reporters.

Among the 30 residents hospitalized, injuries ranged from broken bones to smoke inhalation and burns.

"Some people leapt from the building, jumped from multiple-story windows," Goldstein said.

One unnamed woman at the scene told NBC Washington that she was searching for her uncle after her calls to his cellphone went unanswered.

"He lived in the building that collapsed. We're here waiting and nobody tells us, nobody say anything to us," she said.

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