GAITHERSBURG, Md. -- A small, private jet has crashed into a house in Maryland's Montgomery County on Monday, killing at least three people on board, authorities said.

Preliminary information indicates at least three people were on board and didn't survive the Monday crash into home in Gaithersburg, a Washington, D.C. suburb, said Pete Piringer, a Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesman.

He said a fourth person may have been aboard.

Piringer said the jet crashed into one home around 11 a.m., setting it and two others on fire. Crews had the fire under control within an hour and were searching for anyone who may have been in the homes.

Television news footage of the scene showed one home nearly destroyed, with a car in the driveway. Witnesses told television news crews that they saw the airplane appear to struggle to maintain altitude before going into a nosedive and crashing.

An FAA spokesman said preliminary information shows the Embraer EMB-500/Phenom 100 twin-engine jet was on approach at the nearby Montgomery County Airpark. The National Transportation Safety Board is sending an investigator to the scene.