Survivors of an apartment explosion that killed seven people and injured dozens in Silver Spring, Maryland, in 2016 have reached a settlement with Washington Gas.
A spokesperson for Washington Gas told News4 on Tuesday the utility company reached a settlement on Friday. They wouldn't say how much Washington Gas paid in the settlement.
Two children and five adults died in the explosion and fire at the garden-style Flower Branch Apartments on Aug. 10, 2016. More than 60 people were injured, including three firefighters.
CASA de Maryland, a Latino and immigration advocacy group, filed suit against Washington Gas and Kay Apartment Communities, the company that manages the apartment complex, in Nov. 2016 on behalf of the survivors.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined a failed mercury service regulator and an unconnected vent line lead to a natural gas leak that accumulated in building's meter room until it exploded.
The NTSB said Washington Gas was responsible for making sure the vent line was properly connected. Washington Gas has disputed the NTSB's findings.
Dozens of residents and victims filled a meeting the Maryland Public Service Commission held Tuesday evening. Many of them gave emotional testimony about the night of the explosion and some called on Washington Gas to take accountability.
"We went outside and I saw kids and adults crying for help. This is something our community went through, and lives were lost," one woman said.
"Please, please, please take care of things and don’t let anymore explosions happen," another woman pleaded at the meeting.
Residents in the area had reported smelling natural gas for several weeks before the explosion. They alerted property management and made at least one 911 call weeks before the explosion. However, Washington Gas was not notified, according to the NTSB's report released in April 2019.
In May, tenants at Flower Branch voiced their concerns about continued reports of a strong gas scent.
Activists with CASA de Maryland got involved and said Washington Gas fixed the issue more than 20 days after the resident reported the problem.