Man found alive five days after senior center fire


Alex Brandon

Firefighters pour water on a fire at the Arthur Capper Senior Building, an apartment building that houses senior citizens. Four tenants are taken to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.

Macee Trottner, Editor

A 74-year old man was found alive in his second floor apartment five days after fire broke out in the building. On Wednesday, September 19 in Washington D.C. residents of the Arthur Capper Senior Housing Center were evacuated by the D.C. firefighters. Officials with DC Fire and EMS said in a news release that they had rescued over 100 residents and believed everyone was accounted for.

The building’s owner assigned crews to go into the apartments and evaluate the safety of the structure itself. Mayor Muriel Bowser reported that the man found in his apartment was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. He was believed to be in the apartment during the fire and his identity has not been revealed.

“I can’t really tell you about his condition at this point except that he has non-life threatening injuries,” Bowser said. “It appears that based on the report that I got from the building workers that he was sitting in his apartment. The workers helped him into a chair and out of the building and he is now being treated.”

Dozens of senior citizens had to be rescued from the four-story building. 161 units were reported to be occupied and Bower said that her office was trying to connect each of the households with a case manager.

The fire chief said that four people had been transported to local hospitals and the D.C. Fire and EMS chief later reported that an alarm system in the building did not work according to ABC Affiliate WJLA-TV. Firefighters and U.S. Marines took residents back to the Marine Barracks Washington Annex.

“The entire neighborhood was filled with smoke for hours,” ABC News correspondent Kenneth Moton, who was at the scene, said. “From the moment they arrived on the scene and well into the next day, D.C. firefighters had a constant stream of water on what was left of the building. It was pretty much gutted. I could see several fire truck ladders in the air spraying water to prevent hot spots from flaring up.”

Bower has released information regarding the fire saying that the event is still under investigation and that the man found in the building has not revealed his identity.

“Clearly this has prompted all district government agencies to re-verify with the building owner and building management all contacts with tenants and make sure that those contacts match the efforts that we have undertaken this weekend to make sure every resident — whether they were placed in a hotel last Thursday and Friday or whether they’re with family and friends — that they have contact and that they have available resources,” she said.