NEW YORK -- A man who lived in a home that exploded in Maryland on Friday, the same day it was to have been auctioned, committed suicide, authorities said Monday.
Steven Martin Beck, 61, died from a gunshot wound, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore where an autopsy was conducted.
Fire investigators found his body in the basement of the Maryland home on Saturday, the Montgomery County Police Department said in a news release.
A deceased dog was found close to Beck, and it was determined that the dog also died from a gunshot wound.
“The Major Crimes Division continues to work with the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Fire Marshals, the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to determine the circumstances that led to this event,” the news release said.
The house in which Beck’s body was found is located in a Maryland suburb of the nation’s capital. It was leveled early Friday by a thunderous explosion that was heard for miles around. It was a blast so powerful that it shattered windows and caused other damage to several neighboring homes, authorities said. The explosion shook the city of Rockville about 1 a.m. and scattered debris widely, a fire official said.
A legal notice appearing in The Washington Post on Wednesday stated the home would be sold at auction on Friday afternoon, but the auction firm’s website no longer listed it Friday morning.
Gas service at the home was turned off in June 2015, but Washington Gas spokesman Brian Edwards said unauthorized use had been detected at the home since January. A bill had been sent to the house, he said. Tests on Friday showed no leaks in the neighborhood or from the street to the house, Edwards said.