NTSB Meeting March 12 on Silver Spring Gas Explosion's Cause

The agency has taken much longer to finish investigating the 2016 incident and determine the probable cause than residents, and their members of Congress, wanted.

The National Transportation Safety Board will hold a board meeting on March 12, 2019, starting at 9:30 a.m., to determine the probable cause of the Aug. 10, 2016, natural gas explosion and fire at the Flower Branch Apartments in Silver Spring, Md. Two apartment buildings were destroyed in the incident, which killed seven people and caused 65 people to be transported to area hospitals. Three firefighters suffered minor injuries.

For months, residents who survived the blast have complained that the NTSB investigation was taking far too long, and members of Maryland's congressional delegation also urged the safety board to speed up its work. An NTSB spokesman told The Washington Post's Steve Thompson in November 2018 that the retirement of the man who was NTSB's initial investigator in charge on this case was one reason the investigation moved more slowly, adding that another factor was that the explosion and resulting fire destroyed much of the evidence.

Parties to the investigation include the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Maryland Public Service Commission, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, Montgomery County Department of Police, and Washington Gas.

The board meeting will be open to the public. It will take place at the NTSB Boardroom and Conference Center, 420 10th St. SW in Washington, D.C.

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