WASHINGTON, DC - More than two hundred people were displaced by a fire Saturday, which forced out of their homes in the middle of the night, with only the clothes they were wearing.
On Tuesday, those people spent the day waiting for the chance to get back inside their apartments to see if anything could be salvaged.
They had ten minutes, with two safety escorts. Before they went inside, they were braced to expect the worst.
“They said since the firefighters were throwing water all over our stuff, and it has black stains because of the gas and everything," said Jackie Mendoza, “so I guess we totally lost everything."
Three days after the fire tore through the top floors of the building, people say they are still in shock, but grateful to have escaped at all.
Bernard Woodward says he got up to go to the bathroom and when he looked out the window, saw a fireball coming at him. Now he is faced with starting over.
“Feeling homeless," said Woodward. “I’m trying to keep my composure together because I know it’s going to be a long way back."
One person died in Saturday’s fire. He was the father of a 4-year-old student at LAMB Montessori public charter school, around the corner from the building.
Executive Director of the school, Diane Cottman, said the school has set up a depot for donations in the school’s lunch room.
“And just our condolences to the Romero family, because one of our students lost his dad in the blaze," said Cottman. “He also happens to be the brother of one of our staff members and the uncle to some of our students, so when you look at a small community you have a tragic event with tentacles that just."
LAMB Montessori on Military Road is accepting donations from the community this week only. Cottman said they are especially in need of toiletry items such as toothpaste and diapers. A larger depot will be set up next week at Brightwood Elementary School.
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