Greenbelt apartment fire displaces 21 families

The fire damaged at least 30 units and displaced more than a dozen families. Photo: ABC7

An apartment building in Greenbelt is a charred mess Thursday, a day after fire officials say a malfunctioning furnace accidentally caught fire and displaced 21 families.

At least 30 units in a building at the Franklin Park Apartments on Edmonston Road were severely damaged by the Wednesday afternoon fire, which started at about 4:30 p.m. and caused about $250,000 worth of damage.

Luckily, no one was injured in the fire, but one person had to be rescued after being trapped on the 2nd floor and another firefighter was forced to call out a mayday after becoming separated from his crew.

Residents and neighbors are now undertaking the grim task of assessing their own damage and figuring out what to do next.

"It's Christmas time and people have lost everything they have," neighbor Ovila Paquet said.

Inspectors say that the building remains too unstable for people to even return to salvage any of their belongings.

Officials said that another resident was forced to jump to safety from a second-floor apartment. That person was not seriously injured.

"They said it's going to be a while before we are able to get in and get our belongings." Greenbelt resident and fire victim Tonya Ware said.