(Adds detail on three missing on ground)
Dec 8 (Reuters) - An executive jet crashed into a Maryland neighborhood on Monday, killing at least three people aboard and leaving three people missing on the ground, fire officials said.
The Embraer SA twin-engine Phenom 100 crashed into a home about one mile (1.6 km) from the Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg, a Washington suburb, county fire department spokesman Pete Piringer told a news conference.
At least three people aboard the plane were killed and the home's occupants, a mother and two children, were unaccounted for, he said.
The crash sparked a fire that destroyed two homes, and three others were damaged. Piringer said crews had contained the fires and some jet fuel had leaked into a stream.
A Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman said the plane went down on its way back to the airport. The National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement that it was investigating the crash.
Witnesses told local media that the plane had been circling with the wheels down, and looked as if it was struggling for control. (Reporting by John Clarke in Washington; Editing by Susan Heavey and Eric Beech)