Frequently Asked Questions

Question: 
What’s the status of rebuild plans?

Answer: 
We are planning to rebuild the buildings similar in size and height in order to meet current zoning regulations.  They will be built to current construction standards including Life/Safety and Accessibility.  We have submitted preliminary applications for review to rebuild and are awaiting a response.


Question: 
What’s the status with the lawsuit and NTSB investigation?

Answer: 
We have no new information at this time. The NTSB investigation is still underway and the lawsuits are going through their due process.


Question:  
Will there be a memorial at the complex?

Answer:
We are planning to install a memorial but are awaiting further development of our building plan applications to determine the design.


Question:
What did you do to help those that lost their homes?

Answer:
It was very important to us to help our residents get back on their feet as soon as possible. The assistance included:

  • Free rent for three months
  • $2,000 toward rent spread across four months
  • Capped rent at other locations to same rate paid at Flower Branch
  • New furniture for the entire apartment including bedding, linens, and kitchen accessories.
  • Refunded their security deposit
  • Refunded the entire month of August’s rent.
  • Provided each household with $2,000 for immediate spending money

Question:
How have procedures changed at Flower Branch Apartments since the incident?

Answer:
We have been hard at work to meet our residents’ expectations for customer service and communications. We have established and perpetuated an enhanced relationship with CASA to create a more clear and consistent line of communication between Flower Branch and its residents via regular meetings and newsletters. Since the incident, 12residents have returned to live at 5 apartments at Flower Branch.


Question:
What happens once the rental assistance package ends?

Answer:
The rent returns to market rent and current concessions are being offered for a new 12 month lease.


Question:
Has parking availability improved?

Answer:
Our new parking permits now include our residents’ vehicle tag number to ensure that only Flower Branch residents are parking within the community.  Since implementation, parking complaints have greatly decreased.  We were also able to add several more parking spaces by re-evaluating our current lots.  We will continue to evaluate to see if a few more spaces can be added since every space counts.


Question:
Has Washington Gas uncovered anything new in its inspection of the gas lines?

Answer:
Last August, Washington Gas said tests “confirmed the integrity of the Washington Gas infrastructure tested.” Washington Gas went on to say, “the gas system in the surrounding area was also determined to be sound.” These statements still hold true.


Question:
For non-displaced residents who are concerned about their safety, will you assist them in relocating?

Answer:


Question:
Were there any resident concerns recorded about smelling gas prior to the incident?

Answer:
In 2016, at the affected buildings, we had received two documented concerns of the smell of natural gas in an apartment, one in January and one in May.  In both cases no gas leaks were found.  We do not know if any resident contacted Washington Gas about the smell of gas.  Those are the only documented reports of the smell of natural gas other than the call to 911 on July 25, 2016.


Question:
Have gas fittings been changed in the apartments since the incident occurred?

Answer:
Anytime gas is turned off then back on again, a pressure test is required by the local utility(s).  It’s not uncommon during the process to find fittings that require replacement. Any fittings that needed replacement were resolved the day of the inspection.


Question:
What did Washington Gas find upon inspection after the fire at Flower Branch Apartments?

Answer:
On Tuesday, August 16th, Washington Gas said Monday’s tests “confirmed the integrity of the Washington Gas infrastructure tested.” Washington Gas went on to say “the gas system in the surrounding area was also determined to be sound.”


Question:
There have been reports of 1,600 violations on the property in the last nine years. What does this mean?

Answer:
Those violations have been over a nine year time period for nearly 400 apartments and include many minor infractions such as trash on the balcony. Our most recent inspection in 2013 included 545 violations, all of which were corrected within 30 days. We have an excellent track record of working with Montgomery County DHCA.


Question:
What is Kay Apartment Communities doing to keep residents informed?

Answer:
We are in touch with our residents through our normal communication methods (phone calls, letters, etc.) and have been participating in calls and meetings with community groups. In addition, we continue to keep the residents and community members updated on our blogFacebook page and Twitter accounts.


Question:
Has Kay Apartment Communities supported any of the community organizations helping those affected?

Answer:
We have worked collaboratively with CASA de Maryland and IMPACT Silver Spring to assist residents. Kay Apartment Communities has also made a financial donation to the Montgomery County Housing Partnership.


Question:
Will the apartment buildings be rebuilt?

Answer:
There are no immediate plans for reconstruction, but as we have more information, we will keep this document updated.


Question:
Why hasn’t Kay Apartment Communities been more vocal in the media?

Answer:
Our focus and efforts have been and continue to be supporting the people and families that were affected by this tragedy.


Question:
Will residents be allowed into apartments to retrieve any items anytime soon?

Answer:
UPDATE – 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 of 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.

Although the NTSB recently 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.