Media Statement: In Response to CASA News Conference

We reiterate how deeply saddened the entire Kay Management team is from the effects of the natural gas explosion that occurred at Flower Branch Apartments on Aug. 10, 2016.

We must set the record straight in response to the assertions made by CASA during the press conference.

Meeting with our residents

We met with residents of the two affected buildings within days of the natural gas explosion on August 16th to answer questions and to provide details on the company-provided assistance packages.

We are continuing to work with CASA’s attorneys to coordinate a second resident meeting under mutually agreed-upon terms.

The condition of our apartments

Kay Apartment Communities provides well-prepared, clean apartments in all of its communities, including Flower Branch and Northwest Park, where some of the families were relocated after the natural gas explosion.

At Flower Branch, of the 23 apartments that are no longer habitable, all leaseholders and their authorized occupants have secured housing.

  • 18 (75%) of those apartments’ leaseholders & authorized occupants have accepted other fully furnished homes with Kay Apartment Communities
  • 3 displaced households have not informed us of their decision where to relocate
  • 1 displaced household has found a new residence with the assistance of HOC
  • 1 displaced household has made other housing arrangements

In addition, affected leaseholder households were provided with assistance including:

  • Return of their security deposits with interest;
  • A refund of their August rent payments;
  • An additional $1,800 check per apartment;
  • A debit card in the amount of $200 per apartment;
  • Assisted with relocation to an available nearby Kay-managed apartment community with an offer of three months rent-free plus a $2,000 credit to their Kay Apartment Communities’ account to assist with future rent payments;
  • After the 3-month rent-free period, the leaseholder’s current rent at Flower Branch will be extended for additional 9 months even if they have moved to another Kay Apartment Communities’ apartment with higher rent;
  • New furniture and housewares for the displaced residents, including, living room and dining room furniture, beds and bedroom furniture as well as linens, dinnerware, silverware and other household goods.

Furthermore, when any resident at any Kay Apartment community moves into their apartment, they are strongly encouraged to communicate with on-site managers any questions or concerns so that they can be addressed quickly.

We are committed to work with government agencies to resolve the ongoing investigation as quickly as possible.

In Maryland, tenants are protected

Article provided by Washington Post, September 30, 2016

Contrary to Matt Losak’s Sept. 25 Local Opinions essay, “Connecting the dots from complaints to disaster,” an expansive legal network provides numerous tenant protections. In Montgomery County, the Department of Housing and Community Affairs licenses and inspects rental housing and has authority to conduct more frequent, targeted inspections, which it has exercised. Tenants can request an inspection and call 311 to anonymously report housing complaints.

Of course tenants should first notify their housing provider of conditions warranting repair. And if the housing provider is unresponsive, tenants should contact the jurisdiction to trigger necessary enforcement action. State and local laws expressly prohibit retaliatory action, including evictions, against renters for exercising these rights, including filing complaints or participating in a tenants’ organization.

Because it is fundamentally unfair, the Maryland General Assembly has repeatedly rejected advocacy for a “just-cause eviction” bill. Legislators understand that a housing provider cannot require a tenant to stay forever, and a tenant cannot require a housing provider to rent to them forever. We must continue to foster greater awareness of housing provider and tenant rights and responsibilities and housing safety. The majority of rental housing providers provide quality housing for their residents and are committed to working with jurisdictions to ensure safe housing for all.

Nicola Y. Whiteman, Washington

The writer is senior vice president of government affairs for the Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington.

Retrieval of Resident Belongings from Flower Branch Apartments Buildings 8701 and 8703

MEDIA STATEMENT – October 8, 2016 — Retrieval of Resident Belongings from Flower Branch Apartments Buildings 8701 and 8703

We have been working diligently at Flower Branch Apartments’ buildings 8701 and 8703 – damaged by a natural gas explosion on August 10, 2016 – to evaluate the integrity of the buildings, remove debris and stabilize the remaining structures.

Our structural engineers have determined that 19 of the 24 affected apartments, while not safe for resident re-entry, are sufficiently stable for our specially-trained crew to enter and retrieve some belongings of former lease holders. We are working closely with these lease holders and their families and will attempt to recover as many of their items as possible with the exception of furniture, perishables or any items badly or permanently damaged or destroyed.

Once the items are retrieved, our crew will meet with the former residents of each apartment to return their belongings in boxes provided by us. These residents will be asked to sign a receipt acknowledging acceptance of their belongings.

We understand this recovery process may be challenging for our former residents, and we continue to encourage families to reach out to the Montgomery County Health and Human Services mental health experts. They are available 24 hours a day/365 days a year. They can be reached at 240-777-4000, or seen in person at 1301 Piccard Drive in Rockville (no appointment needed).

 

COMUNICADO DE PRENSA – 8 de octubre, 2016 — Recuperación de efectos personales de los residentes de los edificios 8701 y 8703 de Flower Branch Apartments

Hemos estado trabajando diligentemente en los edificios 8701 y 8703 de Flower Branch Apartments, que fueron dañados por una explosión de gas natural el 10 de agosto de 2016, para evaluar la integridad de los edificios, quitar los escombros y estabilizar las estructuras restantes.

Nuestros ingenieros estructurales han determinado que a pesar de que aún existen condiciones peligrosas para el ingreso de los residentes en 19 de los 24 apartamentos, estos se encuentran suficientemente estables como para que nuestro equipo especializado entre y recupere algunos de los efectos personales de los ex arrendatarios. Estamos colaborando estrechamente con los arrendatarios y sus familias, y procuraremos recuperar todos sus efectos personales que podamos, con la excepción de muebles, perecederos o artículos que hayan sido destruidos o sufrido daños graves o permanentes.

Una vez que los efectos hayan sido recuperados, nuestro equipo se reunirá con los ex residentes de cada apartamento para devolverles sus pertenencias en cajas que nosotros les facilitaremos. A estos residentes se les pedirá firmar un acuse de recibo para constar su aceptación de las pertenencias.

Reconocemos que este proceso de recuperación puede ser dificultoso para nuestros ex residentes, y continuamos alentando a las familias a contactarse con los especialistas en salud mental del Centro de Salud y Servicios Humanos del Condado de Montgomery. Ellos están disponibles las 24 horas del día, los 365 días del año. Se los puede contactar al 240-777-4000 o visitarlos personalmente en el 1301 de Piccard Drive, en Rockville (no se necesita cita).

Flower Branch Preliminary Clean-up to Begin Around Buildings 8701 and 8703

Starting Wednesday, September 14, we are ready to begin removing all of the debris from the grounds surrounding the two fire-damaged buildings plus the loose destroyed portion of the buildings themselves. This includes, for example, jagged sheet metal, broken glass, wood with protruding nails, asphalt roof shingles, appliances and concrete block and brick.  The debris is completely ruined by fire and/or water damage and cannot be salvaged. It must be safely disposed.  The grounds inside the fenced enclosure are unsafe and the only people who will have access are those professionals trained in this type of debris removal.

The buildings are still considered by a structural engineer to be unsafe and dangerous.  Once the debris has been removed, engineers will attempt to install temporary supports for the remaining portions of the buildings. If the buildings can be supported sufficiently, the engineers will then evaluate if they are safe enough for former residents to be escorted to retrieve items from some apartments.  We still do not know if this is possible and we’ll provide an update once the next evaluation is complete.

We certainly understand that this step-by-step process may frustrate some residents and we thank them for their continued patience and understanding.


La limpieza preliminar de Flower Branch comenzará alrededor de los edificios 8701 y 8703

A partir del miércoles, 14 de septiembre, estaremos listos para comenzar a retirar todos los escombros del terreno circundante a los dos edificios que sufrieron daños por el incendio, más las partes de los edificios mismos que quedaron aflojadas y destrozadas.  Entre esto se incluyen, por ejemplo, láminas de metal dentadas, vidrios rotos, madera con clavos salientes, tejas de asfalto de los techos, electrodomésticos, y bloques y ladrillos de concreto. Los restos han sido completamente arruinados por el incendio y/o por daños por agua, y no se podrán salvar.  Deberán ser desechados de forma segura.  Todas las áreas dentro del terreno cercado son inseguras, y solamente los profesionales capacitados en este tipo de eliminación de escombros podrán acceder a ellas.

Un ingeniero estructural ha determinado que los edificios aún se encuentran en condiciones inseguras y peligrosas.  Una vez que los escombros hayan sido eliminados, los ingenieros procurarán instalar soportes provisionales para las partes restantes de los edificios.  Si los edificios pueden ser debidamente sostenidos, los ingenieros entonces los examinarán para determinar si acaso se encuentran suficientemente seguros para que los ex residentes sean escoltados a recuperar sus pertenencias de algunos de los apartamentos.  Aún desconocemos si esto será posible, y divulgaremos mayor información una vez que se haya completado la próxima examinación.

Ciertamente comprendemos que este proceso gradual por etapas podrá resultar frustrante para algunos de los residentes, y les agradecemos por su constante paciencia y comprensión.

STATEMENT BY KAY APARTMENT COMMUNITIES REGARDING TODAY’S CASA DE MARYLAND SPONSORED MEDIA EVENT REGARDING FLOWER BRANCH APARTMENTS  

SILVER SPRING, MD (Sept. 7, 2016) – – We remain thankful for the many government and community organizations, plus countless individuals, who have responded to this tragedy with overwhelming financial, material and personal support. Our thoughts remain with the 26 displaced leaseholder households and the many others in the Flower Branch community.

Immediately following the fire, we widely publicized our commitment to assisting residents – both directly to residents and publicly; including:

  • Setup a satellite office across the street at Goodacre Apartments to make in-person inquiries.
  • Met with the affected leaseholders and have been working non-stop to help them find new homes.
  • In less than 24 hours after the explosion, we began working collaboratively with CASA de Maryland and IMPACT Silver Spring to assist the residents, and on the night of Aug. 16, 2016 our management team met with the group for more than 2.5 hours at Clifton Park Baptist Church to answer resident questions directly, and to begin to distribute our relocation packages.
  • Kay Apartment Communities also made a financial donation to the Montgomery County Housing Partnership.

Our specific efforts to help the leaseholders and authorized occupants of Flower Branch Apartments included the following:

Of the 24 apartments that are no longer habitable, all leaseholders and their authorized occupants (households) have been contacted in our effort to secure other housing for them and provide financial assistance; including:

  • Return of their security deposits with interest;
  • A refund of their August rent payments;
  • An additional $1,800 check per apartment;
  • A debit card in the amount of $200 per apartment;
  • Assisted with relocation to an available nearby Kay-managed apartment community with an offer of three months rent-free plus a $2,000 credit to their Kay Apartment Communities’ account to assist with future rent payments;
  • After the 3-month rent-free period, the leaseholder’s current rent at Flower Branch will be extended for additional 9 months even if they have moved to another Kay Apartment Communities’ apartment with higher rent;
  • New furniture and housewares for the displaced residents, including living room and dining room furniture, beds and bedroom furniture as well as linens, dinnerware, silverware and other household goods.

As of today:

  • 19 (79%) of those apartments’ leaseholders & authorized occupants have accepted other homes with Kay Apartment Communities.
  • 17 households have moved into a fully furnished home.
  • 2 households are scheduled to move into fully furnished homes on Sept. 10.
  • 3 displaced households have not informed us of their decision where. they’re relocating.
  • 1 displaced household has found a new residence with the assistance of HOC.
  • 1 displaced household has made other housing arrangements.

We will reach out to the residents who signed the petition so they know we are ready and willing to meet with them.  They are always welcome to share their concerns directly with us – we strongly encourage all residents to be in touch with us.

We also continue to ask residents to report any safety concerns to our office, and they will be immediately followed up on.  Residents should call 911 if it is an emergency.

We continue to work with authorities to determine the facts behind what caused this tragic event.


DECLARACIÓN DE KAY APARTMENT COMMUNITIES CON RESPECTO AL EVENTO MEDIÁTICO DE HOY SOBRE FLOWER BRANCH APARTMENTS, PATROCINADO POR CASA DE MARYLAND

SILVER SPRING, MD (7 de sept. de 2016) – – Permanecemos agradecidos ante la variedad de organizaciones gubernamentales y comunitarias, además de los numerosos individuos, que han acudido a esta tragedia con su contundente apoyo económico, material y personal.  Mantenemos en nuestros pensamientos a los 26 hogares desplazados de entre nuestros inquilinos y a muchos otros dentro de la comunidad de Flower Branch.

Inmediatamente posterior al incendio, dimos a conocer abiertamente—tanto directamente a los residentes como públicamente—nuestro compromiso para ayudar a los residentes por medio de las siguientes medidas, entre otras:

  • Instalamos una sucursal de nuestras oficinas al frente de Goodacre Apartments para facilitar sus averiguaciones en persona.
  • Nos reunimos con los inquilinos afectados, y hemos estado trabajando sin descanso para ayudar a conseguirles nuevos hogares.
  • Dentro de menos de 24 horas luego de explosión, comenzamos a colaborar con CASA de Maryland y con IMPACT Silver Spring para ayudar a los residentes, y la noche del 16 de agosto de 2016, nuestro equipo directivo se reunió con el grupo por más de 2 horas y media en la iglesia bautista de Clifton Park, con el fin de contestar las preguntas de los residentes directamente y de comenzar a distribuirles nuestros paquetes de mudanza.
  • Kay Apartment Communities también hizo una donación de fondos a Montgomery County Housing Partnership (la Asociación de viviendas del condado de Montgomery).

Nuestros esfuerzos concretos para brindar ayuda a los inquilinos y residentes autorizados de Flower Branch Apartments han incluido las siguientes medidas:

Todos los inquilinos y residentes autorizados (unidades familiares) dentro de los 24 apartamentos que ya no son habitables han sido contactados como parte de nuestro esfuerzo para obtenerles viviendas alternativas y prestarles asistencia financiera, incluyendo:

  • Una devolución de sus depósitos de seguridad, con intereses;
  • Un reembolso de las cuotas de alquiler pagadas para el mes de agosto;
  • Un cheque adicional por el monto de $1,800 por apartamento;
  • Una tarjeta de débito con un saldo de $200 por apartamento;
  • Asistencia con su mudanza a una de las comunidades de apartamentos administradas por Kay que esté disponible, ofreciéndoles tres meses de alquiler gratuito más un crédito de $2,000 en su cuenta de Kay Apartment Communities para ayudar con sus futuras cuotas de alquiler;
  • Luego de un período de 3 meses de alquiler gratuito, la tarifa actual de alquiler para dichos inquilinos de Flower Branch será extendida por 9 meses más, aún en caso de que se hayan trasladado a otro apartamento de Kay Apartment Communities con una tarifa de alquiler más alta;
  • Nuevos muebles y artículos para el hogar para los residentes desplazados, incluyendo un televisor, muebles de sala y comedor, camas y muebles de habitación, ropa de cama, cubiertos y otros enseres domésticos.

Hasta el presente:

  • 19 (un 79%) de los inquilinos y residentes autorizados de nuestros apartamentos han aceptado nuevas viviendas dentro de Kay Apartment Communities
  • 17 familias se han trasladado a viviendas completamente amuebladas
  • 2 familias están preparadas para trasladarse a viviendas completamente amuebladas el 10 de septiembre
  • 3 de las familias desplazadas no nos han informado a dónde piensan mudarse
  • Una familia desplazada ha conseguido una nueva vivienda con la ayuda de HOC
  • Una familia desplazada ha dispuesto de un arreglo privado para su vivienda

Nosotros nos comunicaremos con los residentes que hayan firmado la petición para informarles que estamos preparados y dispuestos a reunirnos con ellos.  Siempre les damos la bienvenida a compartirnos sus inquietudes directamente – alentamos firmemente a que todos los residentes estén comunicados con nosotros.

También continuamos pidiendo a los residentes que informen a nuestras oficinas de cualquier preocupación por su seguridad, e investigaremos todo dado caso inmediatamente.  Los residentes deben llamar al 911 en caso de ser una emergencia.

Continuamos colaborando con las autoridades para determinar los hechos detrás de lo que haya precipitado este trágico suceso.

Status of Buildings 8701 and 8703

September 2, 2016 – Many have questions about these buildings such as if/when former residents will have access or if/when the buildings will be removed.  The answer is we do not know yet.

Since the beginning of the tragedy, we have been following the instructions from various government agencies & departments who were in charge of the area.  Now, we are waiting for further inspections by our insurance company and Washington Gas.   Once these inspections are complete and the reports are issued, we hope to provide you with more information so you will know what to expect about buildings 8701 and 8703.

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.

Kay Assumes Control of Flower Branch Fire Buildings As NTSB Concludes The On-Scene Portion of Its Investigation

As of today, the NTSB has concluded its on-scene work at Flower Branch Apartments and has released the property to Kay Apartment Communities. Kay’s engineers have indicated that because the structural integrity has been compromised at the fire-damaged buildings, it is far too dangerous to allow anyone to enter the secured area, except those professionals directly involved with the ongoing investigation and site management.  We certainly understand there are many former residents and others  who would likely want access to the buildings and surrounding area, however, it would be irresponsible of us to allow access at this time.

 

Kay asume el control de los edificios incendiados Flower Branch mientras que el Comité de Seguridad de Transporte Nacional (NTSB) concluye su investigación en el sitio del incidente

Hasta el momento, el NTSB ha terminado su trabajo en el sitio del incidente en los apartamentos Flower Branch Apartments y cedió la propiedad a las comunidades de Key Apartment. Los ingenieros de Kay dieron esa indicación porque la integridad estructural se ha visto comprometida en los edificios afectados por el fuego y, en consecuencia, resulta demasiado peligroso permitir a las personas que ingresen al área de seguridad, salvo los profesionales que están directamente involucrados con la investigación en curso y el manejo del sitio.  En efecto, entendemos que hay muchos residentes antiguos y otras personas que probablemente quisieran acceder a los edificios y los alrededores; sin embargo, sería irresponsable de nuestra parte permitir el acceso al edificio en este momento.

Kay Releases Image of Meter Room Setup

SILVER SPRING, Md. (August 19, 2016) – – At Kay Apartment Communities, we appreciate Montgomery County officials updating the public about where they stand with their investigation during the press conference held earlier this morning.

Our thoughts continue to be with the victims and their families and our number one priority remains finding housing for all of our displaced residents.

During the press conference, there were many questions about what the meter room looks like at Flower Branch Apartments. The image below is from the Flower Branch Apartments meter bank in a nearby building, with a very similar setup to the affected building. 

The picture below shows a Washington Gas pipe that enters the meter room from the left and connects to a regulator, which then connects to the individual apartment meters. The green tag is from a recent inspection from Washington Gas.20160816_101911_resized 

Now that the investigation has been turned over to the NTSB, we will continue to work with these authorities to determine the natural gas and ignition sources that caused the explosion.

Kay publica la imagen de la configuración de la sala de medidores

SILVER SPRING, Md. (19 de agosto de 2016) – – En Kay Apartment Communities, agradecemos que los funcionarios del condado de Montgomery hayan brindado una conferencia de prensa esta mañana para informar al público en qué punto se encuentra su investigación.

Nuestros pensamientos continúan estando con las víctimas y sus familias, y nuestra prioridad sigue siendo la de encontrar una vivienda para todos los residentes que han debido abandonar su hogar.

Durante la conferencia de prensa, se realizaron muchas preguntas sobre cómo es la sala de medidores de Flower Branch Apartments. La siguiente imagen pertenece al banco de medidores de Flower Branch Apartments de un edificio cercano, con una configuración muy similar a la del edificio afectado.

En la siguiente imagen se observa una tubería de Washington Gas que ingresa a la sala de medidores por la izquierda y está conectada a un regulador, que luego se conecta con los medidores de cada departamento. La etiqueta verde corresponde a una inspección reciente que realizó Washington Gas.

20160816_101911_resized

Ahora que la investigación está en manos de NTSB, continuaremos trabajando con las autoridades para determinar cuáles fueron las fuentes de gas natural y de ignición que causaron la explosión.

Information

As many of you know, an explosion and fire occurred August 10th that has damaged two apartment buildings and our leasing center. The fire department and other authorities are performing their investigations to determine the cause of the fire. This is tragic and heartbreaking for all the affected families. As we receive more information throughout the coming days, we will keep this page updated. We appreciate everyone’s understanding during this unfortunate situation.

Como muchos de ustedes ya sabrán, el 10 de agosto hubo una explosión y un incendio que causó daños en dos edificios residenciales y en nuestra oficina de arrendamientos. El departamento de bomberos y otras autoridades están llevando a cabo sus investigaciones para determinar la causa del incendio. Este suceso es trágico y doloroso para todas las familias afectadas. Mantendremos esta página actualizada a medida de que vayamos recibiendo mayor información en los próximos días. Apreciamos toda su comprensión mediante esta situación tan desafortunada.

Frequently Asked Questions / Preguntas frecuentes

Our team is dedicated to providing accurate information to our residents, communities and the media regarding the Flower Branch Apartments fire. Because we are still focused on helping our residents, the most time efficient way to disseminate information is through a series of frequently asked questions. The information presented in these frequently asked questions will be updated as needed. For any media inquiries please contact us at media@kayapartments.com.

Preguntas frecuentes
Nuestro equipo se compromete a brindar información certera para nuestros residentes, nuestras comunidades y los medios de comunicación con respecto al incendio en Flower Branch Apartments. Debido a que continuamos enfocándonos en ayudar a nuestros residentes, la forma más efectiva de poder difundir la información es mediante una lista de preguntas frecuentes. La información presentada en estas preguntas frecuentes será actualizada a medida que sea necesario. Para consultas de parte de los medios, por favor contáctenos al siguiente correo: media@kayapartments.com.