WASHINGTON - D.C. leaders are pointing fingers at the company that runs the senior housing complex that erupted into flames last week. This comes after a 74-year-old man was found trapped inside his apartment five days after the fire broke out.
More than 160 residents are homeless as crews continue to sift through the damage in the building. Almost one week since the fire happened, city leaders are certain that every resident is now accounted for.
“Well, I wasn't alone. I was with my God,” 74-year-old Raymond Holton told FOX 5 when he was asked what he was thinking when he was trapped alone in his apartment.
Holton is still recovering in the hospital after emerging from his badly-burned apartment building that was believed to be evacuated days earlier.
“It's completely ridiculous that he was there for five days and that the building management told us that everyone had been accounted for,” said D.C. Councilmember Charles Allen (D-Ward 6).
On Tuesday, cadaver dogs searched the inside of the Arthur Capper Senior Apartments as structural engineers worked alongside the fire department to survey damage, pull out dangerous debris and secure the building.
The fire at the building erupted last Wednesday afternoon, causing chaos and confusion as elderly residents had to be rescued by firefighters along with the help from about 100 Marines stationed nearby.
Meanwhile, Allen is outraged Holton seemed to have slipped through the cracks on the day of the fire. He was only discovered as work crews went into the building five days later. The council member wants the building’s management held accountable.
“I feel lied to by the building management,” he said. “In addition to the fire alarms not working, the smoke alarms not working, I think we have got to hold the building management accountable because they gave us information and told us that everyone was accounted for, and the city made decisions based off of that. So after we found this gentleman, the city essentially wiped out everything that the building management had given us and started over, and they have independently verified now that every single person is accounted for.”
Edgewood Management, based out of Gaithersburg, Maryland, owns and manages this building along with 44 other affordable housing complexes in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
Edgewood Management released the following statement to FOX 5:
“The safety and security of our residents in the communities we serve is our top priority. We have opened an internal investigation and are working closely with the D.C. Council, D.C. Fire Chief and the Mayor to understand exactly what happened and why. We have been working to relocate all of the residents affected by the fire and help them secure long-term housing in the days and weeks to come. We are grateful for the quick response of the fire fighters, paramedics and Marines on the scene. Their acts of bravery were heroic.”