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Burst Pipe Displaces 52 Seniors in Bowie

"It was mass hysteria," said one council member of the scene Tuesday night at The Willows complex.

A burst pipe at The Willows displaced 52 Bowie residents Tuesday night.|Photo credit: Patch file
A burst pipe at The Willows displaced 52 Bowie residents Tuesday night.|Photo credit: Patch file
Fifty-two senior citizens were displaced from their homes Tuesday night after a water pipe burst in The Willows Senior Community, according to city staff and council members.

Councilman Henri Gardener was contacted by a resident sometime after 8 p.m. and notified that a pipe had burst, flooding many apartments.

According to an email sent last night by Kai Boggess-de Bruin, who works in the Prince George's County Department of Social Services, the residents of 44 apartment units were displaced due to a pipe bursting on the third floor of The Willows. 

Gardner said when he arrived at The Willows at around 9 p.m. following the pipe burst, the scene was chaotic. 

"There were hundreds of residents in the lobby. There were residents crying—it was mass hysteria," Gardner said.

Many of the displaced residents were picked up by relatives, Gardner said, but there were some with no renters insurance to cover the cost of temporary housing and no place to go, with temperatures Tuesday night in the single digits. 

Gardner, with the help of City Manger David Deutsch, was able to place six residents with no other housing options in Marriott TownPlace Suites at a reduced rate. 

County and Red Cross officials were on the scene Tuesday night, and a restoration company was assessing damages as well. 

All but five units should be habitable by the end of the day, according to Deutsch.

Of the six residents staying in the hotel, five live in the units that will need more extensive repairs, Boggess-de Bruin wrote in an email obtained by Patch.

"It's a really bad situation for the residents," Gardner said.

The Red Cross has agreed to help fund longer hotel stays of displaced residents, he added.

Bowie Mayor G. Frederick Robinson applauded the quick actions of Deutsch and Gardner Tuesday night, ensuring the safety of residents impacted by the incident.

"They clearly went way beyond expectations. They made sure that everyone who needed immediate help got it," Robinson said.

Prince George's County and much of the region were under a wind chill advisory Monday night and Tuesday due to an Arctic blast that came into the region, causing wind chills as low as 12 degrees below zero. Below-freezing wind chills increase the risk of frostbite, hypothermia and freezing and bursting pipes.

Mindy Anderson January 08, 2014 at 11:11 AM
God bless them! I can't imagine what they're dealing with. They're in my prayers...

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