BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Almost 8 months after an apartment complex explosion and fire in Silver Spring killed seven people and wounded several others, police have released body camera footage from the responding officers in a documentary-style video.
More than 160 firefighters responded after an explosion at the four-level Flower Branch Apartment building in the 8600-8700 block of Piney Branch Road on the night of August 10. Firefighters in a nearby station even heard the explosion.
It was the result of a natural gas buildup in a basement utility room.
The newly released footage provides the point of view of the first officers who arrived on the scene.
It shows them dressing burns, carrying wounded people to safety, taking care of a baby that was dropped from a window by caretakers who were trying to save it, and watching in horror as the flames spread through the building.
“The fire was enormous and the heat was so intense,” says Sgt. Troy Brenner. “I was probably about, I’d say 100 to 150 feet away, and you could just feel the heat. It was almost like you were standing in front of the oven with the door open.”
Sgt. Brenner goes on to explain coming in contact with a man who said he couldn’t walk, but who was sitting near where the fire trucks needed to park when they arrived.
“I wasn’t sure if he had a broken leg or broken ankles, so at that point I just made the decision to pick him up and I carried him across Arliss street to the other side across from the building.”
Officer Michael Wengloski says he wrapped a man’s burns on the side of the road since he knew the firefighters and medics were occupied.
“It’s tough to treat burns, so I just did what I could for him,” he says. “And I just wrapped them in a dry dressing to prevent them from getting hopefully infected or anything like that, just to protect them from the outside elements.”
Officer Nathan Bush explained what it was like to help care for a baby boy who was dropped from a higher story window by its parents.
“Instantly, I mean as a dad, I have two young children, you know for that situation it had to be very desperate in order for a parent to drop their child out of a burning building,” he said.
The footage shows two officers holding and comforting the infant.
“And then not knowing what was going to happen to them, what was going to happen to the baby. I just for sure knew that the parents were probably… I didn’t know if they were going to make it or not. I was hoping they did, but it was one of those situations where, you didn’t know considering what we were looking at at the time.”
CBS News footage used later on in the video shows that the parents were, indeed, rescued. Body camera footage shows them being reunited with their son.