The body of a seventh person was found Tuesday at the Silver Spring apartment complex that was nearly leveled in an explosion last week, authorities said.
In another development, Washington Gas reported that tests Monday “confirmed the integrity” of the natural gas lines at the two buildings affected.
Investigators have not released findings about the cause of the catastrophe at the Flower Branch Apartments, but officials said last week that they suspected a natural gas leak may have contributed.
Earlier Tuesday, before the body was found, Montgomery County authorities said they thought that at least one more body might remain in the rubble. In announcing Tuesday’s discovery, however, they indicated that they will continue to look for possible victims.
The blast injured more than 30 and displaced more than 100.
The missing were listed as: Saul Paniagua, 65; Saeda Ibrahim, 41; Fernando Josue Hernandez Orellana, 3; Deibi “David” Samir Lainez Morales, 8; Augusto Jimenez Sr., 62; Maria Auxiliadorai Castellon-Martinez, 53; and Aseged Mekonen, 34. None of the bodies recovered had been identified as of Tuesday by name, race, age or gender.
Residents say they complained of a gas odor before last Wednesday night’s blast. The county confirmed that on July 25, firefighters were sent to investigate the smell of gas at one of the complex’s buildings. Logs show that they could not verify the smell and left .
Since the blast, Washington Gas has surveyed its system in the area and found it sound, said Jim Monroe, a spokesman for the utility.
“We continue to support the ongoing investigation and remain on site to respond to community concerns,” Monroe said in a statement. “As always, if you smell gas, move to a safe location and call 911 or the Washington Gas emergency leak line at 703-750-1400.”