This story was corrected on Jan. 8, 2014. An explanation of the correction is below.
Bowie seniors got an unexpected shower Tuesday evening after a pipe, connected to a sprinkler system, burst, dousing residents and damaging apartments.
Fifty-two residents have been moved from The Willows, located at 3850 Enfield Chase Court, after the burst pipe damaged 44 units in the senior apartment complex, said Bowie Councilman Henri Gardner (Dist. 3). Gardner said a resident called him and he saw seniors milling about with some of them wet, confused and upset. There were no injuries, he said.
“There are quite a bit of angry residents,” Gardner said. “There was mass hysteria.”
David Julian, property manager with Columbia-based Humphrey Management, did not immediately return phone calls by press time. Humphrey Management oversees The Willows property, Gardner said.
Of the 52 residents that were displaced, Gardner said 13 seniors have been placed in a Bowie hotel. The city of Bowie will pay for their stay because they did not have anyone they could stay with or renter’s insurance to pay for a hotel, Gardner said.
The rest were able to connect with families or friends, he said.
It still hasn’t been determined how long they will be displaced from their home or who will be ultimately responsible for the damaged pipes and rooms, Gardner said.
“We are trying to figure it out now,” Gardner said.
Bowie spokeswoman Una Cooper said the city’s role in this situation is to ensure the safety and health of the seniors while working with the Prince George’s County Emergency Management and Social Services. The city has been working with Humphrey Management to get the seniors back into their homes as quickly as possible, she said. On a visit to The Willows the morning after the incident, Cooper said there were restoration crews cleaning up the apartments.
“They are our residents, so we want to make sure they are taken care of,” Cooper said.
Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled the address for The Willows.