COLLEGE PARK – The facade of a College Park apartment collapsed onto Baltimore Avenue from fierce winds July 3, causing a major traffic jam and displacing more than 200 residents.
A sign attached to the Enclave Apartments on the 8700 block of Baltimore Avenue near Greenbelt Road crashed onto the sidewalk and into two lanes of the road at 4:30 p.m. after 50 mph winds from Hurricane Arthur tore through the area.
The facade brought down power lines, and police closed Baltimore Avenue in both directions for almost eight hours.
“We are very lucky there were no cars coming down Baltimore Avenue when the facade came down on the street,” said Mark Brady, a spokesman for the Prince George’s County Fire Department.
The Prince George’s County Fire Department’s collapse team arrived after receiving reports of the roof being blown off a building, but they determined it was the facade that had fallen, said Fire Chief Marc Bashoor.
No one was injured, Bashoor said, but about 200 residents, mostly University of Maryland students residing at the Enclave, were displaced after the collapse.
“I heard a loud noise and a loud crash, and I ran from the hotel to see what happened when I saw debris on the sidewalk and in the street,” said Robert Frend, who was staying at a nearby hotel when the incident occurred. “I thought someone was under it, trapped.”
The owner of the apartment building also owns a motel up the street from the apartment and will provide a place to stay for residents who needs a place to stay, Bashoor said.
Prince George's County building inspectors will check-out to see if the building is safe before residents can return, Bashoor said.