More than 200 people were forced out of their homes after an explosion and fire destroyed part of an affordable apartment complex in Silver Spring, Maryland, on Thursday. Here's information about where those residents in need can get help.
Residents who need a place to stay after the explosion at the Flower Garden Apartments can go to the White Oak Community Recreation Center at 1700 April Lane, where the Red Cross has set up an emergency shelter. Anyone with disaster-caused needs is welcome at the shelter and all Red Cross assistance is free.
Any residents who cannot get to the shelter or who need help getting emergency medications can call or text 240-447-2693, a spokesperson for Montgomery County Health and Human Services said Friday afternoon.
"We have what are called navigators who are calling every single household, starting with the building that won't be inhabited again, to check in on them," Montgomery County HHS spokesperson Mary Anderson said.
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Anderson said the county would likely set up a disaster assistance program for the residents by Monday or Tuesday. "That's where residents will have all kinds of services right there," she said.
The Red Cross is working with the county and other organizations to provide food, water and emotional support to families. Specially-trained Disaster Mental Health volunteers are also available to help people cope with the psychological impacts of the disaster, the Red Cross said in a news release.
Volunteers are also providing food and water at the site of the explosion on Lyttonsville Road, the Red Cross said.
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Montgomery County set up a donation page to help the residents who have lost everything.
Donations reached about $360,000 by Friday afternoon and were on pace to probably hit $500,000 by Monday, Anderson said. She said the county would likely begin to disperse the donations early next week.
Anderson reiterated that it's important for residents to register with HHS in order for them to receive any monetary help.
"Help is available. We want to know about those emergency needs. We can't help them if we don't know about them," she said.
Where to Donate
Go here for information on how to donate to residents of the Flower Garden Apartments.