BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Thursday marks one year since a massive explosion left several people dead, including two children, at the Flower Branch Apartments in Silver Spring.
Seven people died, dozens were hurt, and hundreds of families were forced out of their homes.
One year later, there are signs of rebuilding, but there’s still a lot of recovery left. A special ceremony was held on the one year anniversary of the tragic event. It was held outside the apartment complex, which for many has been the site of unanswered questions.
In the middle of the night, a thunderous blast rocked the Flower Branch Apartments, setting two buildings ablaze, as people slept inside.
Some scars left by one of the largest explosions our area has ever seen have yet to heal.
“It was very difficult. I had just gotten home, and suddenly, I heard a noise and said, ‘Let’s go. Something is burning,'” said Gloria Palacios.
Palacios had moved there just two months before the explosion last year.
Many residents at the apartment complex in Silver Spring only speak Spanish. The language barrier was a challenge for first responders during the rescue efforts.
There is an empty lot where the two buildings once stood. For some, it’s a reminder of their friends and neighbors who did not survive.
[Reporter: “What goes through your mind every time you look across the street and see that empty lot?] “The sadness of how many kids were lost,” Anita Fleming said.
Fleming works across the street from the apartment complex.
“I would take the back way just so I wouldn’t have to look at the high chairs that were still there,” she said.
There were reports of a gas odor before the blast. The National Transportation Safety Board, better known for their work in airplane and train crashes, is part of the investigation. The exact cause of the explosion is still under investigation.
Neighbors have filed lawsuits against both Washington Gas, and the property owner, Kay Management.
A year of waiting for answers and missing those who did not make it.
“I feel a loneliness, a sadness,” Palacios said.
The building owner is considering whether to build a memorial for the victims.