Senior man found alive in apartment 5 days after massive fire

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WASHINGTON D.C. - A 74-year-old man was found alive in his apartment five days after a major fire ripped through a D.C. senior living center, Mayor Bowser said Monday.

Officials say the man has been taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Mayor Bowser said the man lived on the second floor, but was nowhere to be found on the apartment records. An engineer in charge of the building's safety said the man "had a sense of humor" and told people who were coming to get him that he wasn't going anywhere.

This has prompted a re-evaluation of contacts with residents who lived in the building. Previously, officials said that everyone was accounted for.

Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen took to Twitter to express his frustrations saying, "clearly, there have been multiple failures to this point in either identifying and locating every resident or securing the building." He says he is demanding answers.

Monetary donations meant to aid victims of Wednesday's massive apartment fire in Southeast DC will be handled by the Capitol Hill Community Foundation.

160 seniors living in the Arthur Capper apartments made arrangements with the American Red Cross for temporary shelter. Red Cross is also helping seniors replace their medications and other essentials since many of the residents lost everything in the fire.

Meanwhile, firefighters are looking into what caused the fire. It took nearly 22 hours before it was officially called out by firefighters.

Investigators are checking the integrity of the building before going in and assessing where the fire started and how it spread.

DC Fire and EMS leaders said they are also aware that there was a failure of the building-wide fire alarm system because they got numerous reports of victims trying to pull the alarm with no success. The fire chief said investigators will work with the property owner to determine what went wrong but added that smoke alarms in individual rooms worked properly.

Many people were concerned about why sprinklers never went off. The chief said it's because the fire burned on the top floor and not the lower floors where those sensors would have been triggered.

For more information about how to help victims follow this link to the Capitol Hill Community Foundation.

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