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Board Faults Utility's Equipment In Fatal 2016 Explosion

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The National Transportation Safety Board says a gas company's faulty equipment is the most likely cause of an explosion at a suburban Maryland apartment complex 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 gas-pipeline accidents.

At a meeting Tuesday, the board found a faulty regulator left unconnected to a vent pipe most likely caused the explosion.

Washington Gas is the utility responsible for maintaining the equipment and has disputed the findings.

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

Residents in the area had reported smelling natural gas in the weeks before the explosion.

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