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74-Year-Old Found Alive 5 Days After DC Fire

He was trapped in apartment with door jammed shut
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2018 3:08 AM CDT
Firefighters pour water on a fire at the Arthur Capper Senior Building, an apartment building that houses senior citizens, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – After a fire swept through his senior complex in Washington, DC, leaving his door swollen shut, 74-year-old Raymond Holton waited for help. He was there for five days. Holton was found Monday inside his unit at the Arthur Capper Senior Public Housing complex when workers assessing the badly damaged building's structural integrity heard him yelling. Structural engineer Allyn Kilsheimer tells NBC 4 that they had to pry the door open with a crowbar. They found Holton sitting on a sofa, in remarkably good spirits. "For somebody who's been in that situation for as long as this, he seemed incredibly in good shape, from my perspective," Kilsheimer says. Holton was hospitalized for evaluation.

Holton's phone had died and the electricity had been cut off. "I wasn't scared. I be here by myself anyway," Holton tells the Washington Post. "I thought they forgot about me. I didn't know about no fire." Council member Charles Allen says the building's management company had assured authorities that all residents were safe and accounted for after the Wednesday fire, which devastated much of the four-story complex. "It's completely unacceptable and inexcusable that there was someone in there for five days and we didn't know about it," he says. Fire officials say Holton, whose unit wasn't near the main part of the fire, was apparently missed during a primary search. They are now reviewing procedures. (Read more Washington DC stories.)

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