Man, 74, found alive days after US fire

Blanche Robertson
September 25, 2018

A 74-year-old man was found alive in a United States senior housing complex five days after it burned, forcing the evacuation of more than 100 occupants, officials say. He said the man joked, "I'm not going anyplace".

The discovery of the elderly survivor adds an improbable postscript to the fire that struck the Arthur Capper Senior Public Housing complex in southeast Washington DC last Wednesday. The man, Raymond Holton, emerged without serious injuries and was evaluated at George Washington University Hospital.

"I wasn't scared. I be here by myself anyway", Holton said in a telephone interview from the hospital.

So here's the question of the day: Do you suspend the search of a large apartment building for seniors that has had major fire and structural damage based on the word of the building's management that all residents are accounted for or do you keep searching?

Update 1:10 pm According to the Mayor, the list provided to the management company had the name of the gentleman who was found in the rubble today.

"Clearly this has prompted all district government agencies to re-verify with the building owner and building management all contacts with tenants and make sure that those contacts match the efforts that we have undertaken this weekend to make sure every resident - whether they were placed in a hotel last Thursday and Friday or whether they're with family and friends - that they have contact and that they have available resources", she said.

" I wish I had an explanation, but I don't", Davis said. "We were under the impression that everybody was accounted for, but we were going to do a complete walk-through of the building as much as we could", Dean said.

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Holton's apartment has a view of an interior courtyard, not of the street that was filled with firetrucks.

Parts of the building began collapsing around the firefighters as they were coordinating the search and evacuating residents, Dean said.

According to the Mayor, the area is now safe for fire marshals, investigators and utility workers to get in and do work. That consisted of searching areas deemed most unsafe, in this case, the upper two floors, and checking as many rooms as possible.

Mayor Muriel Bowser said the search has now been turned over to DC Fire and EMS and ATF.

"We didn't know he was in the building", Bowser told reporters at a news conference on Monday. Fire officials said, for instance, that air-conditioning units weighing thousands of pounds were dangling from the ceiling.

Image: Firefighters from numerous companies fought the fire. The fire's size, intensity, location and a building's structural integrity in the moment determine how rescuers manage the scene, he said. "Or you just created X amount more people who need to be rescued".

Workers found him inside his apartment on Monday morning, where he is believed to have been trapped since Wednesday.

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