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NTSB: Failed Gas Regulator, Vent Line Caused Flower Branch Apartment Explosion

By: Dan Hausman

7 people were killed, 65 residents were forced to local hospitals and medical centers, and three firefighters were injured because of the August 10, 2016 explosion and resulting fire in Silver Spring, Maryland at the Flower Branch apartment complex.

Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. and a handful of other area law firms filed lawsuits on the behalf of victims of the explosion in an attempt to secure justice and compensation.

The Flower Branch apartment complex cases were consolidated and many are currently pending together in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland with a trial set to start in December of this year.

Over the last couple of years, the parties involved in the Flower Branch apartment complex cases have been busy filing papers with the court, gathering documents and taking depositions of witnesses to better understand the facts surrounding the explosion, and preparing for trial.

New Update Provides More Insight

The federal government had also been trying to figure out what happened at the Flower Branch apartment complex on August 10, 2016; the National Transportation Safety Board, an independent Federal agency charged by Congress with investigating pipeline incidents and other significant accidents, had been examining the explosion for two and a half years. The NTSB is tasked with determining the probable cause of incidents and issues safety recommendations aimed at preventing future incidents.

On Tuesday, April 23, 2019, the NTSB held a public meeting in which it determined the failure of an indoor mercury service regulator with an unconnected vent line was the probable cause of the August 10, 2016 explosion and apartment fire in Silver Spring, Maryland. The NTSB found natural gas leaked into the service room because of the unconnected vent line and failed service regulator, accumulated in the service room until it reached explosive levels, and ignited. The NTSB also issued 13 safety recommendations, with five safety recommendations issued to Washington Gas, as a result of the incident.

The safety recommendations, for example, requiring all new service regulators be installed outside, will surely help prevent another incident if implemented. But, the recommendations do not help victims of the explosion receive fair compensation for all that they have endured. It is the attorneys that represent the victims, including the attorneys of Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., that seek to secure justice and compensation for the victims and to hold the defendants fully accountable for their failures and liable for the damages the victims suffered.

Our blog will continue to cover the explosion and resulting civil cases in Montgomery County, Maryland. This tragedy can’t be forgotten.