GAITHERSBURG, Md. (DC News Now) — Nearly three weeks after an explosion rocked a Montgomery County community, homeowners are still in limbo.
“I would say the current status is, there’s still a lot of we don’t know and a lot of confusion and a lot of answers that are still remaining,” said Traci DiMartini, who owns a condo at Potomac Oaks Condominiums.
According to Montgomery County Police, death by suicide led to an explosion that damaged several buildings at the Gaithersburg complex, injured at least ten people and displaced dozens. It happened on November 16.
“We all left for work or were in our homes on Wednesday, November 16. And literally left with what was on our back,” said DiMartini.
This week, the condominium association held an emergency meeting for residents.
That’s when DiMartini said she found out it could be more than a year until the condos are rebuilt. She, along with other tenants, are unable to recover any personal belongings due to concerns over building stability.
Meanwhile, DiMartini said she is still required to pay her mortgage and HOA’s fees—minus utilities—despite her home being gone.
“I’m still paying over $400 into an association where I am not living for 12 to 18 months,” she said.
DC News Now reached out to condo management Friday, but was told they already left for the day.
DiMartini said other questions linger as well.
“What are they going to do to help the people that are displaced?” she asked. “One of the individuals that lives in 828, she’s a single mother with two children, she’s going to be evicted from the hotel the county is putting her up in early next week with still no plans on where to relocate her.”
DiMartini applauded first responders that have assisted those effected over the last few weeks. But, she is asking for more empathy and compassion from condo management.
“The first thing I want to see is any family that is homeless, they need immediate shelter,” she said. “The fact of the matter is the people who were left behind, were not responsible. We deserve to be made whole.”
Montgomery County nonprofit Making Homes Possible is accepting donations to help those affected by the explosion. All funds collected will go directly to impacted families.