SILVER SPRING, Md. (DC News Now) — Investigators said that they had several ideas about what sparked the deadly February 18 fire at the Arrive Apartments at Silver Spring, but representatives with Montgomery County Fire and Rescue said the information was not enough to determine what caused the fire.
“I feel angry, bad, very, very mad,” said Cesar Diaz, whose daughter, Melanie, 25, died in the fire at the apartment complex where she lived.
“Somebody has to pay for my daughter’s dead,” Diaz said over the phone.
The fire started in a seventh-floor apartment and forced the evacuation of more than 400 people, leaving 89 apartments condemned.
“It make me scary, real scary,” said Khaled Kifafi, who lived just a few doors down from where the fire took place.
An agency spokesman said that the occupants of the apartment tried to extinguish the fire themselves. Someone had also left doors to the apartment and balcony open, which helped the fire and smoke spread.
“Everybody woke up to people yelling ‘fire, fire,'” said Jason, who did not want his last name used. He still lives on the 11th floor with his girlfriend.
A spokesman with Montgomery County Fire and Rescue said that firefighters ran into residents who fled the fire and smoke while they climbed stairwells that also filled with smoke. Some people collapsed on firefighters as they crawled down hallways in similar conditions.
“It’s kind of crazy to know that we won’t know what the actual reasoning is,” Jason said. “Kind of shocking, to be honest.”
Melanie Diaz’s family is flying up from South Florida to be in Annapolis Thursday. They will attend the first hearing on a bill to put fire extinguishers in all high-rise buildings that don’t have automatic sprinklers in them — like the Arrive Complex — by July 1.