Four days after a fire destroyed a row of town houses in Frederick, no official cause has been determined, but local residents and nonprofit organizations have been trying to make life a little easier for the seven displaced families.
According to Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services Battalion Chief Kenny Poole, an official cause and damage estimate for the fire on Carrollton Drive will be determined after inspections by fire officials and insurance companies representing both the property owners and homeowners association.
It was a big fire that did a lot of damage, Poole said.
The fire, which began at about 9 a.m. Friday, took more than two hours and 75 firefighters to contain. Four Red Cross workers were also at the scene, with three others helping remotely. Three firefighters were taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
The HOA, Sans Souci Condominium Association, has a master insurance policy that protects the association against liability from damage to their building, according to Lynette Remick-Wacker, property manager of the town houses.
Shana Knight, marketing and outreach manager at United Way of Frederick County, said not all affected homeowners had insurance.
Denise Sparks is one of the 18 people left homeless after the fire. She is acting as a liaison between the families, the property manager, the homeowners association and the various nonprofits, such as the Red Cross.
Each of the seven families received emergency funds and housing from the Western Maryland chapter of the Red Cross. The funds were only for the first 72 hours.
Since then, families have been staying in hotels and with relatives, Sparks said.
According to Sarah Davis, the Red Cross chapter’s disaster programs manager, the families have now been assigned a caseworker to “walk them through the recovery process.”
The caseworkers help those affected find permanent housing and other resources they may need by putting them in touch with other nonprofits, she said. United Way is still waiting for the Red Cross to provide the names of those affected, Knight said.
Once it receives the names, United Way will host a community drive for supplies, or as Knight calls it, “a promotion to blast what the needs of those affected are.”
South End Baptist Church, which is right across the street at 506 Carrollton Drive, has also been working to support the victims.
Pastor Mike Cooper, who was handing out granola bars and water to the victims and bystanders on Friday, said that people have been stopping by the church to donate clothes, toys, canned goods and gift cards.
“We’re just trying to help, just like everyone else,” Cooper said.