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Safety board meets to discuss cause of fatal 2016 explosion

Emergency personnel clear out a basement room of an apartment building following a fire in Silver Spring, Md., Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Emergency personnel clear out a basement room of an apartment building following a fire in Silver Spring, Md., Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON — The National Transportation Safety Board is meeting to discuss the cause of an explosion at an apartment complex in suburban Maryland that killed seven people in 2016.

The NTSB has been investigating the explosion at the Flower Branch apartments in Silver Spring for nearly three years. The board took the lead in the investigation because it has jurisdiction over accidents involving natural gas pipelines.

An initial investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined the explosion resulted from an accidental buildup of natural gas.

Residents in the area had reported smelling natural gas for several days before the explosion.

The Aug. 10, 2016, explosion at the garden-style apartment complex left dozens hospitalized, including three firefighters.

The NTSB meeting will be Tuesday morning in Washington.

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