A home in Rockville, Maryland, exploded around 1 a.m. Friday, sending debris everywhere, damaging surrounding houses and rousing frightened neighbors from their slumber.
People wrote on Facebook that they heard the explosion miles away.
The scene was described as “catastrophic” and the home “completely leveled.”
Videos circulating on social media show the immediate aftermath of the explosion. As you will see, the streets are covered with debris.
Firefighters responded the scene and did not find the person who lived at the home. The owner is “still not accounted for,” said chief spokesman for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Pete Piringer.
The cause of the explosion is not yet known, but according to The Washington Post, an initial investigation indicated that it wasn’t gas or utility-related.
Neighbors living across the street from the house spoke about the rude awakening.
Cheryl Rice said it was “an immediate, big, big explosion” that was “worse” than an earthquake. Rice said she used to live in California so she would know.
She said her family ran outside and were stunned by what they saw.
“Our eyes focused, and we said, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s no house over there,’” she said. “I hope [our neighbor’s] not there.”
Another neighbor told The Post that the homeowner lived alone, worked as a plumber and was a friendly handy man who would often help neighbors.
“When a tree limb came down, he helped. In a storm, he was always there,” Alan Breon said, choking up.
Emergency responders said the debris spread was a 600-yard radius.
Authorities say the investigation is ongoing and that they aren’t ruling anything out.