Body Discovered at Site of Randolph Hills Explosion

Officials are not yet able to identify the victim or the cause of the Rockville blast


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Investigators work at the scene of a home explosion in the Randolph Hills neighborhood

Joe Zimmermann

County rescue workers found a human body and the remains of a domestic animal Saturday at the site of a home explosion in the Randolph Hills area.

Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service Chief Scott Goldstein said at a press conference that crews found the deceased adult and the animal in the basement of the structure at 11422 Ashley Drive in the afternoon. Officials are not yet able to identify the body as the homeowner or another individual, and Goldstein said the identity would be determined after an autopsy.

Maryland real estate records list Steve M. Beck as the owner of the property.

The southern Rockville home had been leveled by an explosion that occurred before 1 a.m. Friday. It took 75 firefighters about 90 minutes to extinguish a blaze caused by the explosion. The blast shot debris as far as 600 yards from the house and damaged nine cars and 10 other houses, rendering one uninhabitable, according to fire officials. No others were injured by the explosion.

Goldstein said Saturday officials still have not determined the cause of the explosion, or whether it was intentional or accidental. Goldstein initially told reporters Friday morning that the blast was not believed to be a gas explosion, but officials later backtracked and said they were not ruling out any potential causes.

Gas had been shut off to the house in 2015, but an investigation revealed there was unauthorized gas use at the address since December 2016.

Karen Burkett, a real estate agent with Re/Max, told Bethesda Beat on Friday morning that the house was scheduled to be sold at 3:30 p.m. Friday at a public auction at the courthouse in Rockville.

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