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Seniors displaced after Ft. Washington fire still not able to return home

Some residents say they haven't even been let back in to recover their prescription medication

FORT WASHINGTON, Md. — Residents who were forced to evacuate the Woodside Village Apartments in Fort Washington are still living in shelters days after a fire broke out. Some are upset they haven't been allowed back in to collect important belongings. 

The senior complex caught fire on Thursday after being struck by lightning. 

Inspectors and engineers spent the weekend evaluating the building and its systems to determine whether it is safe enough for residents to move back in, according to an audio recording from the property management company's phone line. 

One 90 year-old resident, who declined to give his name, said he was forced to leave his prescription medication behind and hasn't been allowed back inside to collect it. 

"I'm not even in a position to speak correctly, and I'm hurting now," he said.

"I'm so angry I can't put it into words," he added.  

Officials have tried to help some residents recover important items, but not all.

"There was a period of time where there was access to the building, that has since been limited and right now we understand that is a problem," said Paul Carden, director of the Red Cross's Emergency and International Services. 

"As we become aware of individual issues with prescription items we're going to assist them with that," Carden said.

The Red Cross has been helping out, providing displaced residents with meals and, in some cases, financial assistance. 

Many residents have found shelter with friends and family. Those who didn't have a place to stay were put up in hotels, paid for by the complex on the first night and by the Red Cross on subsequent nights. 

While they praised the Red Cross for their help, some residents say the complex hasn't provided them with enough information. 

"We're not getting answers," said resident William Johnson. 

There could be some good news on the way. 

Together with the Red Cross and county officials, the complex will hold a meeting on Monday at the Southern Technology and Recreation Center at 11 a.m. to let residents know who will be allowed back in, and who will have to wait a little longer. 

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