One-year since Flower Branch apartment explosion

SILVER SPRING, MD. -- Dozens of people gathered Thursday night in Silver Spring, Md. to mark one-year since the explosion and fire at the Flower Branch apartment complex that left seven people dead.

"It was terrible night. It was terrible night," said Isidro Vargas, who lived in a building next to the one that exploded.

Candles were lit and prayers said in memory of those who died, whose ages ranged from three to 65-years-old.

"And we keep the memory of those in our hearts," said Felicia Prospere, vice-president of the apartment complex's tenants' association, which was formed after the explosion.

The spot where the apartment once was is now vacant, viewable only through gaps in a covered fence. The management complex said the apartment is in the process of being rebuilt and it will include a memorial to the victims.

In a statement, the management company said it remembers "those who lost their lives and recognize our residents and their families who were affected".

While Prospere said the residents are rebuilding their lives together.

"With all of what happened, we built a family. We’re strangers with each other, but now we unite as family," said Prospere.

The investigation into the explosion is still underway by the National Transportation Safety Board. A spokesperson told DCW50 News at 10 that its investigations typically take between 12 and 18 months and that a final report is likely a few months away. However, he added that a preliminary report may be released next week.