Massive 3-alarm fire breaks out at New Carrollton apartment complex

Mark Brady/Prince George's County Fire Department

More than 100 people are now without a place to call home after a massive three-alarm fire broke out at a New Carrollton apartment complex.

It happened around 3:30 p.m. Monday.

When firefighters responded to the fire in the 5300 block of 85th Avenue, flames were shooting from the building’s roof.

“I woke up and I smelled smoke,” said Anthony Benson, who only had time to pack a suitcase full of clothing before he ran to escape the flames. “I grabbed all my stuff together, and the God above saved my life.”

It took the Prince George’s County Fire Department several hours to get the fire under control.

When it was all said and done, four apartment buildings and 44 apartment units were damaged. The fire department said 132 people were displaced.

The National Capital Region of the American Red Cross was on scene on Monday night, working to meet the immediate needs of the families who were displaced.

“I was at work when my son called me to tell me about the fire,” Judy Thompson said. “You just don’t know what went through my head. It’s sad. It’s very sad.”

The only bright spot happened when several residents were reunited with pets they’d previously thought lost in the flames.

“I was just hoping that she wasn’t gone. That’s all I was thinking. She means the world to me,” said Jay Clark, as he held his dog, Pepper, in his arms.

Jay’s father said the reunion with their pet served as a huge comfort for their entire family.

“We just moved in three weeks ago, but I’m just glad that my kids and the dog are safe,” he said. “That’s all I can ask for right now. Everything else is replaceable. They’re not.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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