Breaking News
More () »

After condo explosion, displaced families are paying fees on homes that 'no longer exist'

One of the families told WUSA9 that they've been left in the dark about when their home will be rebuilt, as they continue to pay homeowner association fees.

GAITHERSBURG, Md. — It's been almost two months since a building in the Potomac Oaks Condominium complex exploded

"Our building is sitting here, just slowly falling apart," said Grace DiMartini on Thursday. 

She and her mom, Traci DiMartini, told WUSA9 they've been left in the dark by the condominium association regarding the future of their home.

"I have a right to know when that home will be rebuilt, said Traci. "I have 19 years worth of equity in that home," she said.

The DiMartinis say they and their neighbors have been calling and emailing the association, trying to get a timeline of when the next steps will be taken.

"We're like what's happening are we gonna fix it? Destroy it? And they're like 'We'll let you know,'" said Grace.

Thursday afternoon, the DiMartini family told WUSA9 they returned to what's left of their home and were disturbed to see that no clean-up had been done.

"It  looks like a dollhouse. I can see into me and my mom's rooms. The beds intact, everything's intact," said Grace.

Since the complex is made up of condos, the DiMartini's and the other owners, have to pay homeowners fees.

"We are mandated to continue to pay homeowners fees for a home that no longer exists," said DiMartini.

On December 1, WUSA9 listened in on a community meeting held for the victims of the Potomac Oaks explosion. They were told that the money from those fees would go towards rebuilding, but that the process of rebuilding could take a year.

Since that meeting, the DiMartinis said they continue to get the runaround. 

"I understand they need to wait for the structural engineering reports. But, there's a complete absence of empathy these are people's homes," said DiMartini.

WUSA9 has reached out to the Potomac Oaks Condominium Association for an update on the timeline.

As for the families who were displaced by the Potomac Oaks explosion, a fundraiser was created to help them. 

Patrick Campbell, the Senior Planning Manager for Montgomery County DHHS told WUSA9 that the fundraiser brought in about $128,000, but that as of Thursday night, there was only about $12,000 left. 

He said most of it was already dispersed to the families. It's important to note, that the money was split between more than 20 families, so they each received only between $6,000 and $10,000 each.

That's not a lot of money for a family who had to completely start over, so they're hoping people will continue to donate. The county says 100% of donations are going to the families.

To donate, click here.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential support for those in crisis 24/7 simply by dialing 988 or 1-800-273-8255.

WUSA9 is now on Roku and Amazon Fire TVs. Download the apps today for live newscasts and video on demand.

Download the WUSA9 app to get breaking news, weather and important stories at your fingertips.

Sign up for the Get Up DC newsletter: Your forecast. Your commute. Your news.
Sign up for the Capitol Breach email newsletter, delivering the latest breaking news and a roundup of the investigation into the Capitol Riots on January 6, 2021.

Before You Leave, Check This Out