Elderly man found alive inside building five days after it burned down

A 74-year-old man was found alive in a heavily damaged building five days after fire ripped through the complex

A 74-year-old man was found alive and in good spirits on Monday inside his apartment at a damaged senior living center, five days after a fire broke out and displaced more than 80 residents living in the Washington, D.C., complex, CBS affiliate WUSA-TV reports.

"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. The man, Raymond Holton, emerged without serious injuries and was evaluated at George Washington University Hospital. I have a master key, but the key wouldn't open it but the door was jammed and so we couldn't open it.

Noting complaints from residents that smoke detectors and sprinklers failed to fully operate, Allen said, "I remain stunned that we didn't have loss of life".

The fire broke out Wednesday night in the Arthur Capper Senior Apartment. Crews say they had to use tools to pry open the apartment door, where they found the man inside.

He and others were going through the building unit by unit to try to determine if the apartments were safe to re-enter.

Laura Zeilinger, director of the D.C. Department of Human Services, said that Edgewood representatives told officials after Holton was found Monday that "they had not laid eyes on him personally".

The building's owners have been asked to check again for anybody else, Bowser said.

Arthur Capper Senior Apartments
The 74-year-old man was found alive in a second-floor apartment five days after the fire

Now the search was handed back over to DC Fire & EMS, who will research the building with K9s. The "vast majority" of those residents have sought help getting placed in transitional hotels.

"We are rechecking to assure that they are accounted for", she said.

Washington fire chief Gregory Dean said the fire crews who initially checked for seniors left behind in the housing complex "may have missed the apartment" in the chaos of the evacuation.

Instead, residents were alerted by US Marines and neighbours who banged on their doors. "We were under the impression that everybody was accounted for, but we were going to do a complete walk-through of the building as much as we could", Dean said.

Bruce DarConte was one of those neighbours, and he told local media: "As we saw the fire alarms, we were pulling them - nothing". "It didn't go off".

Fire officials are also investigating the reports that fire alarms at the building were not working. Officials at the management company, Edgewood Management, based in Gaithersburg, Md., did not return calls for comment.


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