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Improperly Installed Dryer Caused Home Explosion

Improperly Installed Dryer Caused Home Explosion

The home on Ashley Drive is pile of rubble. Photo: Kristi King, WTOP

Colleen Kelleher/

May 04, 2011

ROCKVILLE, Md. – Investigators are now saying it was an improperly installed natural gas clothes dryer that caused an early morning explosion.

The Montgomery County Fire Department says the dryer was not installed by a licensed professional and began leaking gas into the house.

Two people were injured in the explosion. A woman is in critical condition with potentially life-threatening injuries, a man is in serious condition with non life-threatening injuries.

“They were blown out of the home,” Montgomery County Assistant Fire Chief Scott Graham tells Channel 4 and WTOP.

He says the two “were extricated from the debris” by firefighters arriving at the scene in the 11200 block of Ashley Drive. The explosion occurred around 3 a.m. No one else was in the home.

The couple’s single-family rancher was completely destroyed. The only thing left standing was the home’s water heater, reports WTOP’s Kristi King, who is on the scene. Window frames and screens from the home ended up across the street.

“It’s definitely a devastating scene. There’s truly nothing but a pile of rubble left where this home once was,” Graham tells WTOP.

“There is debris probably within 50 yards of the home in any direction, about 35 feet up into the trees,” Graham tells WTOP.

Graham says there was some “moderate damage” to the two adjacent homes.

“The explosion was heard within a 2-mile radius,” Graham tells WTOP. “It was pretty significant.”

No one in the area is missing. All of the neighbors are accounted for, Graham says.

Utilities in the neighborhood have been turned off to six or seven homes.

“We will reopen the homes to the neighbors as we render them safe. I don’t think it will affect a wide area.”

No firefighters were hurt.

Neighbors tell WTOP the the couple moved on Sunday.

“I never thought something like this could ever happen. I’m just scared,” says neighbor Mirela Mihaylva, 20.

The explosion lit up the sky “like daytime,” she says.

Ned Mihaylva, Mirela’s brother, says it sounded like an explosion in the movies.

He says the man who lived in the home screaming for help while looking for his wife.

“The lady was 15 to 20 feet from the bedroom,” Ned Mihaylva says.

“I’m glad everyone was alive.”

Damage is seen to a neighboring home. (WTOP Photo/Kristi King).

Gas workers are looking for leaks. (WTOP Photo/Kristi King).

Washington Gas will need to clear the scene to investigate. (WTOP Photo/Kristi King).