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2 dead, dozens injured in Maryland apartment fire

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SILVER SPRING, Md. — Two people are dead and dozens injured after an explosion at a Maryland apartment complex engulfed the building in flames, officials said Thursday.

The two bodies were found in the ruins of the building in Silver Spring, a suburb of Washington, D.C., Montgomery County Assistant Police Chief Russ Hamill announced Thursday at a news conference. The bodies have not yet been identified and several people are still reported missing, officials said.

Thirty-one residents and three firefighters were transferred to local hospitals with non life-threatening injuries, officials said at the news conference. The firefighters had minor injuries and were treated and released.

About 90 people have been displaced by the blaze. Officials say the building is a collapse hazard and they are trying to make the structure safe.

The fire at the four-story Flower Branch apartment complex happened shortly before midnight Wednesday night, officials said. Investigators are still trying to determine the exact cause of the inferno.

About 150 firefighters rushed to the scene, where several residents had to be rescued from the upper floors. Other residents dropped children out of windows and then jumped to safety, Montgomery Fire Chief Scott Goldstein told CNN affiliate WJLA.

Witnesses told WJLA they heard a loud “boom” and felt their homes shake. Firefighters at a station about six miles away told WJLA that they also felt the explosion.

Video from early Thursday morning shows one building engulfed in flames. The blast blew a gaping hole in parts of the building.

Photos taken at the scene later Thursday show shattered glass, bricks, wood and other debris scattered across streets, and clothes and other items hanging from trees.