Round Hill Apartments residents can't go home

Residents allowed to stay in a Chevy Chase apartment building that was heavily damaged by a fire are now being told that they can't return. But, it's not because of the fie.

A high fence and dozens of warning signs surround two of the buildings at Round Hill Apartments. Earlier this month, some 20 units were destroyed or damaged by what fire officials believe was an intentionally set fire.{ }

Jesus Marti, his wife and 10-year-old daughter considered themselves among the lucky.

"There's no water damage, no fire damage inside my unit," Marti said.

The Marti family spent the last week packing up their belongings and moving them into the home's main room, so clean up crews could restore the apartment.

Marti added, "...and there was hope that we could stay in our unit from what we were told."

On Friday, management told Marti no one could enter the home to retrieve anything, because his unit was contaminated.

"What they are telling us is they detected asbestos in our unit," Marti said.

Asbestos fibers, once used in building materials, can cause serious health problems if inhaled.

An employee in the complex's office confirmed over the phone that asbestos was the reason residents had to leave. A member of the management company added that only the owner could comment on the matter.

As for the Martis, they say the trauma of being told they could stay after the fire and now being told they cannot has been too much. They just want to get their things and move on, but even that appears to have been put on hold.

"All our clothing, all our pictures, all our memories, all our paperwork and they won't let us in," Marti said.

ABC7 is still waiting for the complex owner's side of the story.{ }