Senators: Investigators Must Wrap Up Probe Into Deadly Silver Spring Blast

Seven people, including two children were killed, in the massive explosion

Maryland's two U.S. senators say federal investigators need to wrap up an inquiry into an explosion that destroyed two Silver Spring apartment buildings and killed seven people in 2016.

News outlets report Sen. Chris Van Hollen asked that National Transportation Safety Board representatives brief his staff in person by early December. A spokeswoman for Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin says he has also asked for an update.

Meanwhile, lawsuits that could bring relief to some victims are stalled while the NTSB finishes investigating the Silver Spring blast. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives concluded it stemmed from a gas leak in a utility room housing the complex's meters.

NTSB officials say thorough investigations take time and cited staffing issues. Robert Hall with the NTSB says he expects to issue a final report on the investigation next year.

On Aug. 10, 2016, a massive explosion ripped through the Flower Branch Apartments complex. Two children were among the seven killed. Nearly 40 people were injured in the blast, and at least 80 families were left without homes.

The tragedy was still fresh on their minds and those who lost relatives said the pain will never go away at a vigil marking the two-year anniversary.

“We never forget that. In my mind I always have a picture of my father when he was still alive, but we have to keep forward,” said Erick Jiménez, who lost his father, Augusto Jiménez.

Another woman told News4 in Spanish that she and her relatives still live with stress, trauma and anxiety caused by the explosion. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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