ADELPHI – On Jan. 13, a fire broke out in a six-story building in Presidential Park Condominiums, located at 9205 New Hampshire Ave. in Adelphi. The fire began on a top floor unit, spread and left a large portion of the building completely destroyed. In a press release, officials ruled the fire an accident. “The […]
ADELPHI – On Jan. 13, a fire broke out in a six-story building in Presidential Park Condominiums, located at 9205 New Hampshire Ave. in Adelphi. The fire began on a top floor unit, spread and left a large portion of the building completely destroyed.
In a press release, officials ruled the fire an accident.
“The cause was a can of aerosol adhesive, which is highly flammable, came in contact with an open flame in the kitchen (of a condominium) and started the fire and initiated the burns to the two occupants,” said Mark Brady, spokesperson for the Prince George’s County Fire and EMS Department.
Brady said most of the people in the building were able to escape without any problem. However, firefighters made three rescues of residents in top floor units. Brady added that investigators estimated the fire caused $200,000 of building damage.
An online GoFundMe campaign was set up by management of the condominiums to raise money for families in need of financial help. Prince George’s County Council Member Deni Taveras, who serves as board president of Presidential Park Condominiums, said she donated to help the fire victims and the majority of financial donors have been neighbors and people she knows, but more financial help is needed.
Individuals who cannot yet occupy their condominiums will still be required to pay condominium fees and mortgages, in addition to meeting their current accommodation expenses. Taveras added that Presidential Park Condominiums forgave the gas fees for the month of January to help these families, but the condominium cannot afford to forgive their own fees.
Alexandra Pena, the on-site manager of Presidential Park Condominium Association, set up the GoFundMe account that was linked to Taveras’ Facebook page, which helped to provide more exposure for the campaign.
Donations will be divided up as they come in, primarily to pay rent for temporary housing for those in need. Pena said $50,000 was the initial fundraising goal. Since half of the building is now occupied, it has been lowered to $25,000. As of Feb. 7, $1,200 has been raised.
“At this point we’re asking for actual money to be able to help those who have been displaced for a longer period of time,” Pena said.
Taveras explained that individuals living in 40 units had been displaced as a result of the fire. Following a clean-up and an environmental assessment, some residents have been permitted to return.
“We’ve done environmental testing to ensure that all the units that are currently occupied are clean and we’ve gone through and have had everybody sign off on waivers to make sure the association is protected. These are people who wanted to move back in immediately,” Taveras said. “As of (Feb. 5), we’ve allowed 20 families to move back, so about 19 or 20 are still displaced. It’s going to take some time.”
Although Taveras heard that four to six families may have found alternative housing arrangements and do not plan to return, approximately half of the fire victims are still staying with family and friends. Taveras noted that the building was occupied by many renters who did not have renters insurance.
According to Pena, a scope of work is not yet available, but the top part of the building will need rebuilding. Additional concerns such as the fire’s impact on some self-employed residents who lost contents in their units have surfaced. Other residents live in the area alone and cannot seek help from friends or family.
“Some people have lost everything that was in the unit,” Pena said. “It’s been a lot of hardships for many residents.”
Visit www.gofundme.com/PresPrkFireVictims to make a monetary donation online for Presidential Park Condominiums’ displaced fire victims.